Sometimes scientific studies prove what we’ve always hoped to be true. And this one about puppies does just that.
According to a study published in Psychological Science, couples who viewed photos of puppies and bunnies next to images of their significant other developed more positive associations with their partner. Or, to put it in layman’s terms, looking at cute puppies helps your romantic relationship.
The U.S. Department of Defense funded the study, in hopes of identifying ways to help families separated by military deployment.
The researchers analyzed 144 married couples. On average, participants were 28 years old. Additionally, the couples had all been married for five years or less.
First of all, participants were divided into two groups. Then, for six weeks, each group looked at different photos. One group looked at photos of cute puppies and bunnies next to photos of their partners.
The other group looked at neutral, not-adorable images, like photos of buttons, next to photos of their partners. After viewing the images, participants described their significant other to researchers.
The researchers found that those that viewed photos of cute animals had more positive things to say about their partners. They also reported an improvement in marriage quality.
While this isn’t a replacement for methods like couples therapy, it shows the importance of visual associations. The head researcher, James McNulty, said the results surprised him.
But skepticism aside, the study found that looking at photos of cute animals = a more positive relationship with your significant other. And we’re totally willing to try that!
Looking for a good place to start? If sleepy animals is your thing, check out these 14 snoozing animals. Or how about some adorable animals you’ve never seen before (like numbats)? Time to revisit our cute animal Pinterest boards.