The internet is inundated with cat videos. Is it an annoying, or beneficial?
Science says watching cat videos is actually good for you—even if you’re putting off work to replay keyboard cat yet another time.
And if you’re worried about wasting time watching Maru, be comforted by the fact that scientists actually spend time studying this. Seriously. We’re all at the will of our mighty overload internet cats.
Jessica Gall Myrick, an assistant professor at Indiana University Bloomington, headed the survey of more than 6,500 people to find out if watching cat videos improves our moods.
“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,’’ Myrick said in a statement. “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.’’
The study found that while these videos do entertain, they also increase energy and positive emotions, and decrease negative feelings. So if you’ve felt guilty about procrastinating this way, now you have a legitimate excuse to skip your work in lieu of Lil Bub. Participants reported that the pleasure they got from watching cat videos outweighed any guilt they felt about procrastinating.
“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,’’ Myrick said.
The results also suggest that future work could explore how online cat videos might be used as a form of low-cost pet therapy, she said.
And if you felt any guilt over reading about this study, there’s a solution to that, too. For each participant who took the survey, Myrick donated 10 cents to Lil Bub’s foundation, Lil Bub’s Big Fund for the ASPCA, which has raised more than $100,000 for needy animals.
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