It's official - watching cat videos is good for your overall well being, according to an Indiana University study published in the latest edition of Computers and Human Behavior journal.
Professor Jessica Myrick headed the study which set out to quantify the behavioral effect of exposure to cat videos online by surveying consumers of Internet cat content, looking to find motivation and detect emotion. She also tested a new model of how procrastination, guilt, happiness, and enjoyment are interrelated when it comes to our guilty pleasures on the Internet.
The 6795 study participants were self-confessed Internet cat content watchers —the majority women (88.4 percent) and white (90.4 percent).
This group on average watched cat videos or looked at cat pictures almost every day, and owned on average of 2.3 cats each . Questions designed to assess participants personality traits showed the majority were introverts and shy - but also happy, at least, when asked to look back two weeks.
The study found that watching cat videos online may well have contributed to this general happiness. Participants reported that after watching cats on-line they experienced a decrease in negative emotions—annoyance, anxiety, sadness, guilt, as well an increase in positive emotions -hope, happiness, contentment.
As for the procrastinators motivations - Myrick's found that although procrastinators felt guilt after watching videos of cats knocking over things on desks things etc , when they should have been working, that was offset by the pleasure experienced.
Although the study was aimed at the effects of watching cast on-line, participants were also getting regular—but less frequent exposure to dogs and other animals online.
So those cute cat videos aren't just a mindless distraction after all - they're actually helping your health!