Cat videos — opiate of the masses, or useful emotional crutch?
A study by researchers at Indiana University has come down in support of the latter in this key debate of the digital age.
Watching cat videos online boosts energy levels, and reduces anxiety and sadness, according to the study of nearly 7,000 cat video watchers by assistant professor Jessica Gall Myrick.
While some cat video watchers feel guilty at indulging their inner cat lady in the workplace, the benefits outweigh the costs, found Myrick, who has no need to feel guilty when she watches cat videos, because it is her job.
“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,” she said.
More than 2 million cat videos were posted on YouTube in 2014. They were watched more than 26 billion timesand are a potential cheap source of pet therapy, Myrick suggested.
In another breakthrough for science, she found that people who watch cat videos tend to be agreeable, and shy.
“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,”she said.
“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.”
Admit it, you feel better already.