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Is Googling Adorable Dog Pictures at Work Making Us More Productive?

Written by Melissa Keen

Have you ever found yourself accidentally scrolling through adorable dog pictures at work, only to suddenly realise and feel guilty at your lack of productivity? Don’t! Jennifer Ragsdale, a professor at the University of Tulsa, is attempting to prove that cute animal photos can actually boost productivity and improve work ethic.

Jennifer told the Wall Street Journal, “Cyberlacking and cyberloafing are seen as deviant work behaviour, whereas I’m trying to figure out if it has some beneficial work effect.”

The test compromises of putting 150 participants into stressful work situations. Then a third of the group will take a break by working on a puzzle, one group will meditate, and the other will view cute animal photos.

The stress level of each participant will then be recorded. It’s hoped by doing so scientists will be able to see which activity improved work performance most.

Kirby Hockensmith, a researcher on the team, said, “It would be nice to tell my boss, ‘hey, looking at cats makes me more productive.’”

In order to choose the correct adorable dog and baby animal pictures, the team had to go through and rate them on a scale of 1 to 100; they then filtered through the pictures for the best ones.

Another member of the team, Madison Keith, said, “It was relaxing in a sense we got to look at the pictures, but it was stressful when people disagreed; I don’t think it evoked the relaxing experience we’re hoping to evoke in the study”.

The study may take a number of years to complete sufficiently, so in the meantime, you can tell your boss there’s a good potential looking at photos of cute animals is improving your work ethic – soon, you may be able to prove it!

About the author

Melissa Keen

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