After looking at photos of very cute animals, people are more careful than if they look at just slightly cute animals. In a study highlighted by The Neurocritic, researchers showed one group of people pictures of puppies and kittens, another group saw photos of dogs and cats. All of them then played the board game Operation. The people who looked at cuter animals performed better at the game than people who looked at dogs and cats. The researchers concluded:
This is the first investigation to document that immediate shifts in carefulness–indexed here by fine-motor performance–can be elicited by cuteness cues. This suggests that two factors–the importance of physical contact in early mammalian development and the extremely delicate nature of human young–may have exerted evolutionary pressures favoring those who could respond to the presence of cues colloquially described as “cute” with increased carefulness.