Kawaii (Cute) Narrows Focus

I’d hold off on this conclusion: “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.” But it seems that being primed by a cute photo increases focus (which isn’t always good):

Performance improved more after viewing cute images (15.7±2.2% improvement) than after viewing less cute images (1.4±2.1% improvement). Viewing images of pleasant foods was ineffective in improving performance (1.2±2.1%). In the third experiment, participants performed a global–local letter task after viewing images of baby animals, adult animals, and neutral objects. In general, global features were processed faster than local features. However, this global precedence effect was reduced after viewing cute images.


the evidence that cute-arousal makes local processing faster and global processing slower skirts the edge of significance (N=48), but if you ignore the confidence intervals, it looks like there’s a small effect: