By Brittney McKenna
Cat videos. We all watch them. We all love them. And according to researchers at the Indiana University Media School, we're not just wasting all of our time on them.
Data from 7,000 participants just answered a question we've long been asking: Does watching cat videos actually make us feel better? The short answer is...
By monitoring the feelings and reactions of participants who watched cat videos, assistant professor Jessica Gall Myrick made a number of discoveries, including an increase in their positive feelings, a decrease in their negative emotions and overall improved energy. The study also found a positive link between agreeable individuals and the desire to watch cat videos.
Skeptics may ask: Isn't this a waste of scientists' time? Aren't they just (brilliantly) procrastinating at work? No no no.
“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 press release. “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 hypothesizes that watching cat videos -- or similar forms of internet procrastination -- is a modern coping mechanism, one that shouldn't be approached with feelings of guilt.
“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 explained.
So the next time you're feeling a little low, queue up a cat video. And if the ones above didn't make you laugh, this NSFW one definitely will: