A new candidate for ‘Strange Research‘ 2013! This research seems immediately applicable, though:
Nittono, Hiroshi, et al. “The Power of Kawaii: Viewing Cute Images Promotes a Careful Behavior and Narrows Attentional Focus.” PLOS ONE 7.9 (2012): e46362.
The topic means this paper got some love from the popular media, including CBC:
Office workers take note: you no longer need to minimize that live-streaming kitten cam on your desktop whenever the boss walks by.
Those who looked at photos of cute baby animals before attempting these tests ended up with a performance score 44 per cent higher on average than the group who had looked at adult animals.
“Results show that participants performed tasks requiring focused attention more carefully after viewing cute images,” the article states. “For future applications, cute objects may be used as an emotion elicitor to induce careful behavioral tendencies in specific situations, such as driving and office work.”