older woman with dog

Cuteness on the Mind

When you think of the word “cute” what comes to your mind first? Chances are, it involves a baby or a furry little animal. What is it about babies or tiny animals that causes even the toughest person’s heart to melt? Babies and baby animals are totally dependent on the caretaker. When a little creature is perceived as “cute” our brain is wired to want to take care of it. So just exactly how does looking at cute creatures affect our brain? We’ll tell you 3 ways how cuteness affects us:

  • Concentration
  • Improve Relationships
  • Happiness


3 Ways Cuteness Affects Our Minds

  1. Concentration. When you look at something cute – i.e. big eyes, little nose, chubby cheeks – research shows that your concentration can actually improve. There was actually an experiment that took place where participants were separated into groups of two. The experiment revolved around playing a board game once, looking at a series of photos, and then playing the board game a second time. The only difference between the two groups was that one group looked at photos of puppies and kittens, while the other looked at photos of adult cats and dogs. The group who looked at the puppies and kittens actually played their game at a slower and more deliberate pace and had an increase in their performance the second time. The group that looked at adult cats and dogs showed no change in their performance. So, what does this tell us? When we look at cute photos, our brains want to perform what we need to do with greater care. Long story short, when we look at cute pictures of babies, kittens, or puppies, our brains are going to be more thorough and pay closer attention to detail.
  2. Improve Relationships. As if you needed another excuse to look at cute pictures, another benefit is that it can help to improve your relationships! In a recent study, couples were asked to look at pictures of their partner paired with either a cute animal, or something less appealing. It was found that the couples who were paired up with the cute animal, had more positive feelings towards each other than the less appealing photo. Our brains associate positive feelings with cute creatures! The next time you may be irritated with your partner, give this experiment a try. Your brain and relationship will thank you.
  3. Happiness. The next time you look at your social media feed, take notice of the cute babies and pets that your friends post. Most people want to be perceived as being a happy person on social media, and posting these kinds of photos seem to do the trick. There is research that has found that your pleasure center in your brain is activated when it sees photos of cute animals or babies. The brain will release dopamine – the brain’s feel-good chemical. Basically, that warm feeling that you get when you see heart-warming pictures is actually your brain at work! The next time you feel like you need a pick-me-up, find a kitten or puppy video, and you’ll be surprised at the boost of happiness you’ll get.

Do you need any more of a reason to look at cute photos and videos? Life can be so hectic, and when you take aside a few minutes to watch a cute puppy video (or two, or three) you will be doing your well-being a favor.