Tuesday, 19 June 2012

Are you a lizard person?

I have a theory, it goes like this: There are two kinds of people in the world- those who find animals in outfits adorable, and cold blooded psychopathic lizard people. Which are you? I think if there were more kittens dressed as bumblebees in the world, the whole apocalyptic recession thing would seem a damn sight sunnier. Conversely, my hubbie would probably lead the lizards. 

Despite hubbie's desperate pleas for dignity and sanity, our cat has a Christmas jumper:

If you didn't manage a fleeting “aww”, go eat some bugs and lounge in the sun. Otherwise, lets talk about harnessing The Power of Cute....

The Power of Cute can turn even the most rational person into a click happy giggling maniac going from clip to clip of animal antics. This 17 second clip of a kitten playing peekaboo has 63million views. Maru, a fat cat with a love of boxes, has had over 164 millionvideo views on his channel Not that cats have a monopoly on cute, this talking dog video was the most viewed youtube video last year, with a staggering 109 million views to date. The Power of Cute has reached a staggering number of people, uniting them in a love of all things fluffy. Imagine what we could achieve if we could capture this. I'm thinking big- displaying nerd facts, public health messages and a reminder of International Talk Like A Pirate Day along the bottom of the videos. Oooh, arr.

But maybe we don't need subliminal messaging, perhaps The Power of Cute alone can bring about actual behavioural change. A recent study in the journal Emotion looked at the impact of viewing cute images on “behavioural carefulness”. In one of the most entertaining study designs I've read in years, they got 40 female students to play the children's game Operation. (Incidentally, a SpongeBob SquarePants edition of this game exists in which you have to operate on his Patty Pleasure Centre. That does NOT sound like a surgical problem to me.) Half the participants were then shown very cute images (kittens, puppies) and the other half slightly cute images (dogs, cats, no outfits). Both groups then had another go at Operation. The very cute image group improved. Skipping over the tiny sample size and assorted study design issues, I love this paper. Mainly because it provides a clear basis for a patient safety campaign demanding surgeons watch a kitten playing peekaboo before they're allowed to operate. “Scalpel.” “No pointy things until you've watched the ickle fluffy kitten-witten”.

So, The Power of Cute unites a huge number of people in a common love of fluff, and it can make us act more carefully. Next stop: The middle east peace problem. Barack must be feeling its about time he earned that Nobel Peace Prize. I reckon his next step should be to dress his Portugese Water Dog like a pirate, like this:

You may scoff but its no crazier than his current world peace efforts of drone attacks and computer viruses. Nor is it half as wacky as the Foreign Office adviser Dr de Bono who gave a lecture to several hundred officials advocating the use of marmite to soothe conflict in the Middle East

So, that's how I'd harness The Power of Cute. What would you do with it? And, more importantly, what outfit do you think our cat should get this Christmas?

1 comment:

  1. I for one welcome our jumpered-kitten overlords (stay vigilant patient lizards, our time shall come)