For your afternoon slump: It’s okay to look at cute animal photos

If you’re losing your focus around the typical 2-2:30 p.m. slump today, don’t reach for the 5 Hour Energy. Just pop over to the LOLcats website.

A new study out of Japan shows that looking at cute animal photos increases concentration for a short time afterward. Scientists showed college students photos of cute baby animals, adult animals, and Pinterest-esque photos of delicious food, then asked the students to perform concentration-centric tasks. The students who looked at kittens, puppies and fluffy, snuggly bunnies outperformed the others by a long shot.

It’s not certain why this happens, but the researchers have one idea: Looking at cute animals triggers a parental response in the human brain. When parents are caring for their babies they’re more attentive and sensitive to the child’s movements, as well as possible external threats. Heightened attention means better concentration and faster response time to the task at hand.

So go ahead, get a quick neuron boost. Popular Science has the perfect jolt.

Photo: jpockele/Flickr

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