User experience in reading blog articles

Why do blog articles always have a photo/graphic next to the title? Most of the time, the photo has very little to do with the article text. At first this seems random and even distracting.
Image without caption

What do elephants have to to with databases?

The mascot of PostgreSQL is an elephant. Below is the article without images. Pretty boring.
Image without caption

Images add excitement, fun. It’s intellectually engaging.

Without an image, the article text will often look boring and not interesting. We do get a rush of dopamine/serotonin/whatever when seeing some fun novel visual thing. New content that is not quite related to the thing we’re thinking about, so this confuses us and peaks our curiosity. When you see the colorful elephants, you think “Why are they showing me a rainbow image of elephants?”. But that’s exactly the point. That question is a puzzle, a micro game. Then you remember that Postgres logo is an elephant and feel good for having figured something out.

Can a text-based website succeed?

There is Craigslist and HackerNews. So maybe. Would be interesting to make a scientific observational study about the effectiveness of images. But I have read mentions in Twitter and various websites that users tend to interact more with content that uses images.

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