Study Says Viewing Cat Videos at Work Can Make you More Productive
For many, many years, we've pointed out just how silly all those studies are that claim that any time not directly spent working -- such as on "personal surfing" -- was somehow lost productivity. Companies who sold filters to businesses often would put out these exaggerated "studies" that extrapolated the amount of time that people spend doing "non-work" things at work, multiply it by an average employee's hourly salary, and claim that much money was "lost productivity." That number is obviously bogus. First of all, it doesn't take into account the amount of time people spend "working" when they're not at the office either (many of us check our emails, for example, while at home). It also ignores the much more important point that productivity is not an exact relationship to time worked in many jobs. In fact, being non-stop focused on work every minute of the day can certainly be a drag on productivity, because it doesn't give your brain time off to process stuff, and doesn't give you a good way to focus in on what you need to do.
Finally, there's a study to help point this out... and it does so in the most internet-awesome way imaginable. The study has found that staring at cute images can actually help productivity:
Performance indexed by the number of successful trials increased after viewing cute images (puppies and kittens; M ± SE = 43.9±10.3% improvement) more than after viewing images that were less cute (dogs and cats; 11.9±5.5% improvement). In the second experiment, this finding was replicated by using a non-motor visual search task. Performance improved more after viewing cute images (15.7±2.2% improvement) than after viewing less cute images (1.4±2.1% improvement). Viewing images of pleasant foods was ineffective in improving performance (1.2±2.1%).... 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 that is associated with approach motivation and the tendency toward systematic processing.
I love academic speak trying to basically say "seeing cute animals makes you happy, and helps you focus" and turning it into: "a narrowed attentional focus induced by the cuteness-triggered positive emotion that is associated with approach motivation and the tendency toward systematic processing." Either way, while the study really only focused on "cute" images, it didn't take long for people to (perhaps reasonably) extrapolate the findings to cat videos as well.
So, in the interest of helping your productivity, we offer the following:
Your boss can thank me later.
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