Introducing Booboo and the Benefit of Baby Animals

10 Aug 2014

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##Boo-who?

Booboo was recently named the world’s cutest guinea pig and she is the latest recruit to the Recovery Record Motivation Management Team.

This two year old, female, blond guinea pig (American crested) belongs to photographer Megan van der Elst and lives with two other guinea pigs (Titi and Teddy). Booboo loves to spend her days eating, sleeping and cuddling.

Luckily for us, Megan and Booboo think Recovery Record is a great initiative and have decided she should take an active role on the team. You might be wondering how a guinea pig can possibly help people with eating disorders. Let us explain.

##Why baby animals?

Not long ago, Japanese researchers decided to see how looking at images of cute animals might affect a person’s ability to concentrate and complete tasks. Certain physical traits are pretty much universally considered cute: a disproportionately large head for the body, a high forehead, and large eyes. These features, found particularly in baby animals, and guinea pigs, have been shown to bring a smile to people’s faces and fire up the desire to get closer to and care for the animal.

In the Japanese study, people who had viewed images of puppies and kittens did much better at playing a game of Operation, which requires concentration and physical carefulness, than did people who had viewed pictures of adult cats and dogs or neutral stimuli.

This study, along with others, highlights the association of “nurturant love” (that warm and fuzzy feeling you get when you see a baby animal), with high approach motivation. Approach motivation is the driving force that causes a change in us from a desire to experience a positive outcome, to actually doing something about it. It maximizes our urge to act and ability to concentrate and take careful action.

Can you think of times this would be helpful in overcoming an eating disorder?

We can. People who use Recovery Record are delivered baby animal pictures after they self-monitor a meal. This aims to provide the boost of approach motivation needed to challenge unwanted thoughts or behaviors. Cool, huh?

We even take it a step further and let users vote for the cutest baby animals they see. Only the cutest make it into our permanent collection.

This is just one of the ways that Recovery Record integrates science with a beautiful user experience to keep users engaged, motivated, and inspired.

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