Next time you're caught browsing YouTube at work, tell your boss it was in the name of productivity.
People freakin' love funny Internet videos.
They're one of the things that make the internet so wonderful, and at tens or even hundreds of million views for some of the most popular ones, it's pretty clear that I'm not alone in this assessment.
Well, it turns out that watching them might also make you a better worker.
Watching funny videos actually improves people's ability to focus, according to two scientists at the University of New South Wales.
Psychological scientists David Cheng and Lu Wang found that people who watched a funny video clip would spend, on average, twice as long working on a mundane assignment than people in a control group who spent the same amount of time watching videos that weren't funny.
In other words, as the scientists wrote in the Journal of Business and Psychology, "Exposure to humor may increase the effectiveness of employees."
And what better way for a quick dose of humor than a short video?
Not only does watching funny videos make people more productive, the study even found that a particular type of humor has the largest effect on persistence.
That type of humor is called "self-enhancing humor," and while the name sounds boring and science-y, all it means is the type of humor that lets you laugh at yourself and the absurdities of the world around you while keeping a positive attitude.
Other styles include affiliative (humor aimed at enhancing relationships), self-defeating (humor at the expense of yourself, to your own harm), and aggressive (humor that makes fun of other people, usually using lots of sarcasm).
An example of affiliative humor would be one of Jerry Seinfeld's stand-up bits in which the audience can all come together to relate to the observation he's making.
Rodney Dangerfield was the king of self-defeating humor. He made himself the punchline of his own jokes. Unlike self-enhancing humor, there's no sunny side to this. It's put-down humor, just directed at oneself.
Joan Rivers made a career of aggressive humor. It's also known as put-down or insult humor. One of the more unfortunate examples was the below clip of her implying that President Obama is gay.
But this info isn't exactly new. We've long known that happier people are more productive people.
A little chemical called dopamine is responsible for how happy you're feeling, and as we've written before, you don't get happy by achieving success — you achieve success by being happy.
A dopamine-rich brain is 31% more productive than one running low on the chemical. How do you increase your dopamine levels? Suggestions have included writing down things you're grateful for, journaling about positive experiences, meditating, and "spreading the happy" through positive communication. But yes, you can also (drumroll, please) watch a funny video to get your brain going!