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October 09, 2021

Watching cute cat videos at work might be good for productivity

Spend any time on YouTube’s “most viewed” lists and you’re bound to find three things: Bieber, cats, and more cats.

Certainly, the video site seems almost exclusively suited for cat videos, and even those that don’t count themselves as fans of felines must be one of 65-odd million viewers that understand what the words “Surprised Kitty” mean.

But to the workplace, what is YouTube and what are YouTube cat videos? They’re time wasters, right?

Perhaps, wrong. By a new study from Japan, spending part of the work day watching cute animal videos just might be the best thing for your productivity.

In a recent string of studies, researchers at Hiroshima University found the imagery accompanied with delightful videos of animals can actually help focus the mind.

*Bing: What is the most-viewed video on YouTube?

For one experiment, study organizers had 48 students play the game Operation, noting their performance.

Next, they had half the participants view pictures of kittens and puppies, while the other half didn’t. In a second round of Operation, those that experienced the cute animals saw their scores skyrocket, while those that didn’t, didn’t.

Not convinced?

Then consider the study’s second experiment, whereby students were asked to search for a particular number in a matrix – kind of like, as Medical Daily describes, a word search but with numbers.

After a first run, a third of the group looked at pictures of baby animals, another third looked at grown animals and the rest viewed photos of delicious food, like steak and pasta.

In a second run of the number matrix, those that looked at pics of food or grown animals had their scores largely remain steady, while those that viewed kittens and puppies had their results improve.

Will an isolated study from Hiroshima convince your boss a YouTube break is in order? Not likely, but perhaps your guilt will be eased next time you spend 59 seconds at work watching a puppy just roll around trying to get up.

By Jason Buckland, MSN Money



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Gordon PowersGordon Powers

A long-time fund company executive, Gordon Powers now heads up the Affinity Group, a financial services consulting firm. Gordon was a personal finance columnist for the Globe & Mail for many years, has taught retirement planning...

Jason BucklandJason Buckland

The modern-day MC Hammer of money, Jason can often be seen spending cash that isn’t his with the efficiency of a Wilt Chamberlain first date. After cutting his teeth as a reporter for the Toronto Sun, he joined the MSN Money team with...