How often do you watch cat videos on the Internet? Never? Seldom? Every day? They can be difficult to avoid. After all, the Internet is made of them: cute kittens, grumpy cats, and philosophical felines. And it turns out there might be a good reason for them, after all. According to a new study, watching cat videos is actually good for you. Although there is evidence that exposure to cute animals makes you more productive at work, there hasn't been much research into what the effect of the plethora of cat videos has on our mental health. "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," says media researcher Jessica Gall Myrick.
Myrick conducted a survey of over 6,500 people as part of a study about the relationship between media and emotions. "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." She concluded that in spite of reports that we watch cat videos to put off doing work, resulting in guilt at our procrastination, "the emotional pay-off may actually help people take on tough tasks afterward." After watching cat videos online, people responded that they had more energy, felt more positive, and were less stressed. More research needs to be done, reports IFL Science. "The sample size selected wasn't a thorough representation of the internet: Most of the test takers were female (88.4%), so there's still the possibility that men in general respond differently to cat videos." In the meantime, though, before you tackle that big project you've been putting off, you can prepare by watching this ... or this ... or even this.
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