Negative emotions such as sadness and irritation are dissipated after watching cat videos online. This is the belief of Dr Myrick who conducted a study. Although, she admits, that her study has limitations in that the participants were recruited on social media on the promise that a donation would be made to the charitable fund of Lil Bub, one of the internet’s main cat celebrities. I would agree that that does compromise the study!
I’m not sure, however, that the study tells us anything new. In addition, some people might think that a study about watching funny cat videos is unjustified because it isn’t serious enough for academic research. However, there are more than 2,000,000 funny cat videos on YouTube which have been seen 26,000,000,000 times! Therefore, they do have a serious social impact. On average, each cat video is watched 12,000 times.
Research also indicates that people are twice as likely to post a cat video online than they are of a “selfie”.
Jessica Gall Myrick, assistant professor of media studies at Indiana University, found that the 7,000 Internet users who partook of the study genuinely became happier when they watched cat videos. They also acquired a sense of energy which counteracted any guilt that they may have had in wasting time watching cat videos!
And yes, we could argue that a lot of time is wasted in watching funny cat videos. Do you like cat videos or are you like me who finds them, on occasions, slightly exploitative and repitious. I also worry whether the major successes have encouraged others to try and achieve the same success and in doing so have not had the best interests of their cat’s welfare at heart.
We do not know of the number of failed attempts to make a funny cat video. We don’t know whether any cats have suffered as a result. But I do not want to be a wet blanket and spoil the findings of this study which is categorically that cat videos are therapeutic and make people happy.
“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 any more.”
Source: Times Newspaper