Cat videos were viewed almost 26 billion times on YouTube last year alone, so it is no surprise that almost everyone loves to watch furry felines, like Grumpy Cat or Lil BUB. However, science is giving us another reason to tune in – watching cat videos online actually boosts your energy and decreases your negative feelings, according to a new study.
Jessica Gall Myrick, an assistant professor at the Indiana University Media School, surveyed almost 7,000 people about how viewing cat videos affected their mood. After watching cat-related online media, participants said they felt more energetic and positive, and had fewer negative emotions, including anxiety, annoyance, and sadness.
Overall, the participants agreed that the pleasure they got from watching cat videos outweighed any guilt they felt about procrastinating (many watched videos at work or while studying). Myrick says the results suggest that future research could explore how online cat videos might be used as a form of low-cost pet therapy.
“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,”stated Myrick in a press release. “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.”
To learn more about the study, it was published in the latest issue of Computers in Human Behavior.