Kawaii (a Japanese word meaning “cute”) things are popular because they produce positive feelings. However, their effect on behavior remains unclear. In this study, three experiments were conducted to examine the effects of viewing cute images on subsequent task performance. In the first experiment, university students performed a fine motor dexterity task before and after viewing images of baby or adult animals. Performance indexed by the number of successful trials increased after viewing cute images (puppies and kittens; M ± SE = 43.9±10.3% improvement) more than after viewing images that were less cute (dogs and cats; 11.9±5.5% improvement). In the second experiment, this finding was replicated by using a non-motor visual search task. 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. Results show that participants performed tasks requiring focused attention more carefully after viewing cute images. This is interpreted as the result of a narrowed attentional focus induced by the cuteness-triggered positive emotion that is associated with approach motivation and the tendency toward systematic processing. 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.
卡哇伊（日语单词，意为“可爱”）的事物都非常受欢迎，因为它们能让人产生积极正面的感受。然而它对行为造成的影响仍所知甚少。在这项研究中，我们进行了3项实验来检验观看可爱图片对受测者随后任务表现造成的影响。在第一个实验中，大学生在观看幼小或成年动物图片之前和之后执行了精细技巧的灵敏度任务。与观看不太萌的图片相比（如成年猫狗; 11.9±5.5％的提升），由成功试验次数指示的表现在观看可爱图片后得到增加（如奶猫奶狗；M±SE = 43.9±10.3％的提升）。当受测者在第二个实验中执行非运动技巧性视觉搜索任务时，这一发现又再次得到验证。与观看不太萌图的受测者相比（1.4±2.1％的提升）观看可爱图片后的受测者表现提升更多（15.7±2.2％的提升）。观看美食图片不能提升任务中的表现（1.2±2.1％）。在第三个实验中，受测者在观看动物幼仔，成年动物，和中性物体图片后执行了全局－局部文字任务。在一般情况下，全局特征会被处理的比局部特征更快。然而，这种整体优势效应在观看可爱图片后被削弱了。结果表明，在观看可爱图片后，参与者能更仔细地执行需要集中注意力的任务。这被解释为是因“可爱”触发的积极情绪而产生集中注意力的结果，这一积极情绪的触发与系统处理的方法激励和倾向有关。在未来应用中，可爱物体很可能被用作诱发仔细行为倾向的情感激发因子；尤其是在特定情况中，比如驾驶和办公室工作的情况。