Watching cute videos of cats online can boost energy and positive emotions, a new study finds.
Not only that, but they can decrease negative emotions like sadness, annoyance and anxiety.
The survey asked almost 7,000 people about any cat videos they viewed and their moods.
Dr Jessica Gall Myrick, the study’s author, explained the results:
“Even if they are watching cat videos on YouTube to procrastinate or while they should be working, the emotional pay-off may actually help people take on tough tasks afterward.”
The pleasure people gained from watching the videos outweighed any guilt they felt about procrastinating, the study found.
The survey also revealed that:
- 36% were exclusively ‘cat people’, while 60% liked both cats and dogs.
- Shy, agreeable people were the most likely to watch cat videos.
Dr Myrick is aware some might scoff at the research topic.
“Some people may think watching online cat videos isn’t a serious enough topic for academic research, but the fact is that it’s one of the most popular uses of the Internet today.
If we want to better understand the effects the Internet may have on us as individuals and on society, then researchers can’t ignore Internet cats anymore.
We all have watched a cat video online, but there is really little empirical work done on why so many of us do this, or what effects it might have on us.
As a media researcher and online cat video viewer, I felt compelled to gather some data about this pop culture phenomenon.”
The study was published in the journal Computers in Human Behaviour (Myrick, 2015).
About the author
Psychologist, Jeremy Dean, PhD is the founder and author of PsyBlog. He holds a doctorate in psychology from University College London and two other advanced degrees in psychology.
He has been writing about scientific research on PsyBlog since 2004. He is also the author of the book “Making Habits, Breaking Habits” (Da Capo, 2003) and several ebooks:
- Accept Yourself: How to feel a profound sense of warmth and self-compassion
- The Anxiety Plan: 42 Strategies For Worry, Phobias, OCD and Panic
- Spark: 17 Steps That Will Boost Your Motivation For Anything
- Activate: How To Find Joy Again By Changing What You Do
Cute cate image from Shutterstock