Monday, September 17, 2012

Seen anything cute lately?

U.Va. researchers Gary Sherman, Jonathan Haidt, and James Coan demonstrated that seeing a cute object can improve your ability to handle delicate things. Participants in their study were shown either a "very cute" picture of a puppy or kitten or a "less cute" picture of an adult cat or dog. After viewing the images, participants were asked to play Operation, a game that requires very careful fine motor skills. The participants who viewed the "very cute" images had greater success in playing the game than the "less cute" image participants, demonstrating that viewing "cuteness" helped to engage the participants in more careful behavior. Alexis Madrigal of the Atlantic Journal highlighted their work in his June 7th article "Why the Puppy Cam Is About to Make the Whole Internet Better at Photoshop." The original article published by Sherman, Haidt, and Coan in Emotion can be found here.

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