The next time somebody tells you to stop looking at memes on your device, respond by saying you’re doing a scientifically-proven method of relieving stress and increasing your positive emotions. According to a new study published in the Psychology of Popular Media, checking out memes on your phone, tablet or computer actually does the body and mind good.
The study’s researchers revealed they gathered data that determined memes helped generate positive emotions like cheerfulness, contentment, and calmness, especially in this time of the COVID-19 pandemic. Interestingly, they also found out that memes about COVID-19 helped people cope with the stress and anxiety instigated by the virus much better.
With 748 individuals as respondents, the researchers asked the former to look at various memes from popular sites like Imgflip and Imgur. A control group that was only shown plain text was also set up to ensure the reliability of the data gleaned from the participants.
Moreover, the researchers chose memes about COVID-19 or were inspired by the same to see if it positively influenced the way they coped with the current pandemic. The researchers then asked the respondents with the memes to share what emotions they felt while browsing them.
Besides observing that the respondents who were asked to look at the memes appeared to be a lot more delighted and cheerful than the control group, the researchers also noted that they found them more receptive to humour. Scientifically speaking, higher levels of humour are related to a more stable and adaptable coping mechanism.
“This study provides initial evidence that memes may not be just frivolous fun,” the researchers noted in their study. “They are potentially helpful for coping with the stress of a global pandemic and connecting us psychologically while we remain physically apart.”
They also emphasized that “memes have the potential to influence our psychological states,” which is a crucial factor that can be utilized to improve a person’s way of coping with stress, particularly during the COVID-19 pandemic.