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Cute animals help improve concentration

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Next time a mid-afternoon slump gives your concentration a hammering, simply harness the power of "Kawaii."

That's Japanese for "cute."

Trawling the web for adorable images of kittens wearing Christmas hats is time well spent, according to science boffins in Japan who claim that looking at cute pictures sharpens our attention span.

Scientists from Hiroshima University asked 132 university students to perform a variety of tasks - including playing the classic board game Operation - and assessed their scores.

They compared these results with the performances of volunteers who had first been shown pictures of cute puppies and kittens, and found the participants performed better after viewing the pleasing images.

Time to dig out Operation: Gamers may have a new secret weapon in the unlikely form of cute kitten pictures

Those who played a game of Operation immediately after viewing adorable animal images played 44% better than they did when they were not shown the pictures - but they also took 12% longer to complete the task, scientists said.

“This finding suggests that viewing cute images makes participants behave more deliberately and perform tasks with greater time and care,” the researchers wrote in the US journal Plos One.

Anyone willing to try this experiment, tweet us your results or let us know in the comments section below.

Words: Anna Pollitt. Pictures: Rex Features/Hasbro

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