BLOOMINGTON, Ind. — If you get a warm, fuzzy feeling after watching cute cat videos online, the effect may be more profound than you think.
The Internet phenomenon of watching cat videos, from Lil Bub to Grumpy Cat, does more than simply entertain; it boosts viewers’ energy and positive emotions and decreases negative feelings, according to a new study by an Indiana University Media School researcher.
The study, by assistant professor Jessica Gall Myrick, surveyed almost 7,000 people about their viewing of cat videos and how it affects their moods. It was published in the latest issue of Computers in Human Behavior. Lil Bub’s owner, Mike Bridavsky, who lives in Bloomington, helped distribute the survey via social media.
“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. “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.
“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,” added Myrick, who owns a pug but no cats. “As a media researcher and online cat video viewer, I felt compelled to gather some data about this pop culture phenomenon.”
Internet data show there were more than 2 million cat videos posted on YouTube in 2014, with almost 26 billion views. Cat videos had more views per video than any other category of YouTube content.
In Myrick’s study, the most popular sites for viewing cat videos were Facebook, YouTube, Buzzfeed and I Can Has Cheezburger.
Among the possible effects Myrick hoped to explore: Does viewing cat videos online have the same kind of positive impact as pet therapy? And do some viewers actually feel worse after watching cat videos because they feel guilty for putting off tasks they need to tackle?
Of the participants in the study, about 36 percent described themselves as a “cat person,” while about 60 percent said they liked both cats and dogs.
Participants in Myrick’s study reported:
- They were more energetic and felt more positive after watching cat-related online media than before.
- They had fewer negative emotions, such as anxiety, annoyance and sadness, after watching cat-related online media than before.
- They often view Internet cats at work or during studying.
- The pleasure they got from watching cat videos outweighed any guilt they felt about procrastinating.
- Cat owners and people with certain personality traits, such as agreeableness and shyness, were more likely to watch cat videos.
- About 25 percent of the cat videos they watched were ones they sought out; the rest were ones they happened upon.
- They were familiar with many so-called “celebrity cats,” such as Nala Cat and Henri, Le Chat Noir.
Overall, the response to watching cat videos was largely positive.
“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 said.
The results also suggest that future work could explore how online cat videos might be used as a form of low-cost pet therapy, she said.
From the 22 November post at HealthNewsReview.blog
You probably saw, read, or heard about news of an observational study in the New England Journal of Medicine pointing to a statistical association between nut consumption and lower death rate. Larry Husten did a good job explaining the study on Forbes.com.
The NEJM itself posted a YouTube video that had journal editor Jeffrey Drazen’s voice over an animated explanation. I hadn’t seen such NEJM videos before. Take a look. Drazen ends: “I would be nuts to think that eating nuts alone would add years to my life.”
I wish I had that kind of budget. Frankly, I wish I had any budget.
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- Go Nuts! Consumption of Nuts Linked to Mortality Benefit (forbes.com)
- Living Longer with Nuts (healthbistro.lifescript.com)
- Going nuts! (norleenagullettmd.com)
New Outlet Will Allow Access to Lectures, Training, Special Events and Other Video Content
The National Library of Medicine, the world’s largest medical library and a component of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), is pleased to announce the launch of its new YouTube channel, at http://www.youtube.com/nlmnih.
YouTube is a free video-sharing Web site, created in February 2005, on which users can upload, view and share videos. Unregistered users may watch videos, and registered users may upload an unlimited number of videos.
The NLM YouTube channel will post videos of database training, NLM exhibitions (such as an overview of the new Native Voices: Native Peoples’ Concepts of Health and Illness), public service announcements, lectures and more. Interested parties can subscribe to be notified whenever new content is posted on the NLM channel. The NLM site also features links to NIH YouTube channels and other federal health resources.
Although figures for the number of YouTube users worldwide vary, most studies list it as the third most popular Web site, following Facebook and Google. In November 2006, YouTube, LLC was bought by Google Inc. for $1.65 billion, and now operates as a subsidiary of Google.
As an educator, I am always looking for ways to make learning fun. Social media, such as YouTube, has been growing in use since its inception. Even my 13 year old son looks at YouTube videos. So, I thought, why don’t I see how I can incorporate YouTube into nursing education? Having a fun, innovative learning strategy would make learning more enjoyable, and also add a different dimension to the process. I decided to start adding YouTube to my simulation preparatory material. I carefully viewed various videos based on the simulation scenarios I was writing. After speaking to the students, I learned that they enjoyed the YouTube inclusion. After that, I decided to add it to my pathophysiology course, as well as my psychiatric clinical teaching. I am always looking for new YouTube videos and am interested in how the students themselves use it. I ask students to send me links that they have found useful. After using YouTube for a few years, I decided that my experience with using it could be helpful to other faculty, as all educators are looking for new innovative learning formats.Guest blogger Leighsa Sharoff, EdD, RN, NPP, AHN-BC, Associate Professor and Coordinator of Simulation and Learning Resources at Hunter-Bellevue School of Nursing, writes about the use of YouTube in courses.
My article, “Integrating YouTube into the Nursing Curriculum” has just been published by OJIN: The Online Journal of Issues in Nursing. It provides a description of social networking sites and tools, as well as YouTube. I also share hints and cautions about will be most helpful to the many faculty who know it is time to integrate YouTube and other Internet content into their courses, but are hesitant to do so.
I’d love to hear about other YouTube videos that faculty have used in courses for health professionals. What are you using?
Leighsa Sharoff, EdD, RN, NPP, AHN-BC, Associate Professor of Nursing, Hunter College, CUNY
The US Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ)has a YouTube Channel
The growing list of video titles includes the following titles: Tips for Going Home from the Hospital, Asking Questions Before Surgery, Secondhand Smoke and Bring a Health Advocate to Appointments.