MPI must have had the inside scoop on this one, seeing as they've been incorporating puppy cuddling stations into their World Education Congress for a few years now: There's a study that shows that even just looking at pictures of cute baby animals helps improve people's ability to focus their attention and behave more carefully. Published in the latest issue of Plos One, the researchers conclude:
"Results show that participants performed tasks requiring focused attention more carefully after viewing cute images. This is interpreted as the result of a narrowed attentional focus induced by the cuteness-triggered positive emotion... For future applications, cute objects may be used as an emotion elicitor to induce careful behavioral tendencies in specific situations, such as driving and office work."
Or meetings where you need the participants to pay close attention. And that's just with photos—can you imagine how focused people will be once they've played with the real thing?
So, who's ready to bring on the pups and baby bunnies, or at least flash some LOLcats on the screen as people file in for the general session?
The poster boy for cuteness above is my sweet old Augie when he was just a pup.