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Published in Psychological Science, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science, the study found that watching funny videos at work put test subjects in a good mood, and those positive feelings translated into better problem solving, more creative thinking, and ultimately, better productivity.
"Generally, positive mood has been found to enhance creative problem solving and flexible yet careful thinking," says study co-author Ruby Nadler, a graduate student at the University of Western Ontario.
The happiest video in the study was of a laughing baby. Student volunteers who took part in the study better performed complex tasks involving pattern recognition when they watched happy videos or listened to happy music like an upbeat Mozart piece than when they watched sad videos or listened to sad music.
"If you have a project where you want to think innovatively, or you have a problem to carefully consider, being in a positive mood can help you to do that," Nadler says. She adds, "I think people are unconsciously trying to put themselves in a positive mood" by watching videos.
Annie Murphy Paul of The Brilliant Blog points out that this is a good argument for including funny videos in our morning routine. Like drinking coffee, which boosts dopamine production, watching funny videos first thing in the morning might help offset the productivity- and happiness-killing effects of a stressful morning commute.
Anyway, it beats reading bad news or weeding through your inbox.
And with that, why not start off your morning with the best laughing baby video of all time?
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