Watching cats on the Internet is good for you
J Thoendell stashed this in Science
Although Myrick's study was specifically about the effect of Internet cats, the participants were also getting regular—but less frequent—exposure to dogs and other animals online. Teasing out the relative contributions to our emotional welfare made by a doge or red panda versus a surprised kitten might be difficult though. Participants were also far more likely to re-up their Internet cat fix unintentionally, actively seeking out exposure only a quarter of the time. Although, as Myrick notes, if one's social media network is enriched for cats, finding lots of cats online may not be surprising.
Should the idea that we turn to cats on the Internet for mood enhancement be that surprising? After all, it seems intuitive, but science often proves human intuition wrong. Prof. Myrick's study provides empirical data on the various benefits to consumption of Internet cat content, although it may yet be some time before the FDA approve Henri Le Chat Noir for use as an anxiolytic.
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