Science Says You Should Watch More Cat Videos

Lil Bub (whose owner Mike Bridavsky helped distribute the survey via social media). Image courtesy of Mike Bridavsky/www.lilbub.com

Lil BUB (whose owner Mike Bridavsky helped distribute the survey via social media). Image courtesy of Mike Bridavsky/www.lilbub.com

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.

Jessica Gall Myrick. Image courtesy of Indiana University.

Jessica Gall Myrick. Image courtesy of Indiana University.

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.

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The Wearable To Communicate With Your Dog

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Researchers at North Carolina State University are working on a dog harness that will allow us mere humans to communicate with our furry, four-legged friends. The vest-like harness rests on the canine’s back and is equipped with varies technology to help us interpret dogs’ behavioral cues and respond in a way they understand.

The device can monitor a dog’s behavior even when he’s not in sight, and owners can even remotely respond to their pet through a series of speakers and vibrations. The harness also includes additional sensors like a body temperature and heart rate monitor to measure Fido’s physical and emotional well-being.

And if that wasn’t enough, the researchers are also adding other features to the harness for working canines and puppies. The harnesses for search and rescue dogs include a carbon monoxide detector, and they are working on minimizing the technology to help with training pups.

The harness is still in the research stage, but I believe it’s likely we will see more technology like the harness being commercially released in the next few years.

Related Reading
The Wearable For Your Dog
GDC 2015: The App That Turns Playgrounds Into Video Games
Google’s Band That Wants To Detect Cancer

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