Tourism Western Australia and The University of Leeds partnered up to explore the physiological and psychological impact of cute animals on students and staff at the University of Leeds.
The sessions involved 19 subjects — 15 students and four staff members — and was intentionally timed during winter exams, a time when stress is at a significantly high level. The participants were asked to watch a 30-minute slide show that included photos and video clips of various cute animals, such as puppies, kittens and quokkas.
In all cases, the study saw blood pressure, heart rate and anxiety go down in participants, 30 minutes after watching the video.
The average heart rate of all participants fell from 72.2 bpm to 67.4 bpm: A reduction in heart rate of 6.65% in just 30 minutes.
The average blood pressure across all participants dropped from 136/88 to 115/71. In percentage terms, this represents a 14.9% drop in systolic blood pressure and a 18.28% drop in diastolic blood pressure.
Anxiety rates also went down by 35%, measured using the State-Trait Anxiety Inventory.
In a post-study questionnaire, some of the participants comments included:
“I felt happy and calm”
“I wanted to be on that beach with those little kangaroo things (quokkas)”
The study also found that most participants preferred video clips over still images, particularly of animals interacting with humans.
So, here’s a video compilation of baby sloths.