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It would take a hardened heart or perhaps an aversion to pets to not feel some sort of warm feeling when a photo of a puppy or kitten pops up on social media.  In fact, one food manufacturer recently found 73% of us would rather see a cute photo of a young pet than someone’s selfie on their newsfeed!

What’s the science say?

When we look at the research around this, there’s not a lot out there.  Nevertheless, in 2020 results were published which suggested watching cute animals may contribute to a reduction in stress and anxiety.  Participants in the study from the University of Leeds in conjunction with Western Australia Tourism, were asked to view videos and images of various young animals including kittens, puppies, baby gorillas and quokkas. 
Although a small sample, the researchers found in all cases the participants blood pressure, heart rate and anxiety reduced 30 minutes after watching the video.  They also found that most preferred to watch videos of the animals interacting with humans compared to looking at still images.
So the key take-away from all this? Go watch some baby animals – it’s good for you! 

©Hanne Grice

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