A Purrrr-fect Way to Boost Productivity at Work

Do you feel guilty for sneaking peeks of You Tube's latest kittencam feed while at the office? Don't! Researchers at Japan's Hiroshima University say that staring at images of kittens and puppies actually improves work performance, which means that the internet's endless stream of adorable baby animals may hike-- not highjack-- productivity.

In Japan, "kawaii," which loosely translates as "cuteness," is a well-regarded trait. Its popularity has transcended cultural and geographical boundaries through the country's most famous imports: Hello Kitty and Pokemon. But researchers at Hiroshima University wanted to find out if the infantile features that the Japanese find so adorable could serve a purpose beyond their attractiveness.

For a double dose of "kawaii," meet Mango and Milkshake!

They asked study participants to perform manual tasks after looking at images of baby animals, adult animals, and delicious foods and then compared the results. For tasks that required diligence and careful attention, the participants showed strong improvements after viewing the photos of kittens and puppies. At last, a valid excuse for visiting Daisy during office hours.

I am not a distraction!