Saskatoon

Watching cat videos purrrfect way to feel positive, study finds

If you're not into jogging or yoga, watching Internet cat videos might be your answer to feeling more upbeat.

Jessica Gall Myrick says videos have emotional and psychological benefits

Keyboard Cat is one of the Internet's most famous felines. (chuckieart/YouTube)

If you're not into jogging or yoga, watching Internet cat videos might be your answer to feeling more upbeat. 

A recent study found that watching videos of felines online made people feel more positive after watching them. 

With millions of cat videos uploaded to YouTube each year and film festivals dedicated to felines, like the one held in Saskatoon over the weekend, Jessica Gall Myrick wanted to find out the emotional and psychological affects the videos have on people. 

"I combed through the scholarly databases and, not surprisingly I couldn't find anything about Internet cat videos. So I decided, what the heck, I'll study this," the assistant professor at Indiana University's The Media School told Saskatoon Morning host Leisha Grebinski. 

For the study, which was published in the journal Computers in Human Behavior​, Myrick surveyed almost 7,000 people and asked them to recall the last time they watched a cat video online. She then asked how they felt before and after watching the video. 

"When I ran the statistics, it was a significant difference," she said. "They felt more positive emotions, they felt less negative afterwards and they even reported feeling as thought they had more energy." 

People reporting that they had more oomph surprised her a bit. 

"You kind of imagine someone laying on their couch watching cat video after cat video, but you know the fact is that positive emotions serve an important function and they help us feel better and that can motivate us to do something." 

She said more research is needed on the practical applications of watching cat video but said it could possibly used in the form of digital pet therapy. 

However, there's a downside. Some people surveyed reported watching cat videos as a procrastination tool. 

"I think 'everything in moderation' is also a good motto for cat video use." 

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