A brave new survey suggests that watching cute and cuddly cat videos may actually help to emotionally prepare you for hard work afterwards.
polled nearly 7,000 internet users on personality traits, past behavior and the viewing of cat-related online media. The study also looked at what motivated cat-video watchers to consume feline hilarity — was it an emotional need or just procrastination? Lead author Jessica Gall Myrick, a professor from Indiana University Bloomington, said:
“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. 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.”
Myrick doesn’t even own a cat — she is the proud owner of a pug. However, she couldn’t deny the influence cat videos have on our lives today:
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“We all have watched a cat video online, but there is really little empirical work done on why so many of us do this, or what effects it might have on us. As a media researcher and online cat video viewer, I felt compelled to gather some data about this pop culture phenomenon.”
The study, while being the first of it’s kind, isn’t definitive in any sense, but the results point to a strong association between particular personality types and the watching of cat videos.
According to the study, the emotional reward gained from watching the videos may outweigh the guilt or time wasted on actually watching the video:
“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.”
But before you start telling yourself that watching cat videos will make you work harder, keep in mind the sample size of the survey was far from an accurate measure of the general population — 88.4% of the test-takers were female, so men may not be motivated by cute cat videos in the same way.