Images: Are you manipulating them or are they manipulating you?

Looking at images affects behaviour

What are you looking at right now? If you’re reading this, a predominantly white screen with some black text. This is the standard boring fare for millions of workers who have to read from computer screens every day. Include a few images though, and our attitudes changes immediately. Visuals get beneath your conscious radar, affecting your mood and behaviour. Past research has shown that a briefcase, as opposed to a rucksack, placed on a table, makes human beings more competitive. A wall poster which shows a pair of staring eyes will find people more likely to put money into an honesty box, rather than them walk away without paying. (Source)

Photo: Unsplash

What kind of images improve productivity?

The types of images people look at actually affects how they work. According to a study lead by Nittono for Hiroshima University in 2012, looking at cute pictures of animals doesn’t only improve your mood, it increases productivity. The study showed participants performed tasks requiring focused attention more carefully after viewing sweet images of puppies or kittens. In Japan “kawaii” (Japanese for cute) is a cultural phenomenon (Hello Kitty images are an example) Because cute characters have large heads and eyes, they are said to remind people of babies. This creates positive feelings and provokes people to pay greater attention to tasks. (Source)

Photo: Ty_Swartz

Colour changes your mood

A recent University of Texas study found that bland grey, beige and white offices aroused feelings of depression and melancholy, especially in women. Men, on the other hand, experienced gloomy feelings in purple and orange workspaces. Colours also affect our productivity, so filling your work environment with a rainbow of colour inspires creativity and productive work. (Source)

Photo: Aquilatin

Differing colours have a different effect on performance

Another study from the University of Columbia study analysed the effects of the colours red and blue on people. The study looked at what type of performance was improved by each colour. Based on the results of 600 participants they found the colour red improves analytical thinking and attention to detail, while the colour blue improves creative thinking and imagination. So, having images around you with the appropriate colour can help with focus a particular task. (Source)

Photo: Magee

Where to get inspiring images? has always been a great source for beautiful images for wallpapers, but a Google Chrome extension recently developed by Pixabay allows you to use their images as backgrounds in your tabs. By default, the beautiful Editor’s Choice images are selected — but you can personalise topics through the implemented filter option. It’s free to download here: Pixabay Google Chrome Extension Then you can gaze on all the lovely images and be more productive and creative at work!

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