The eyes have it

12 May 2020
The eyes have it

From pigs to pooches, animals always generate a lot of love. Animal aficionados are posting a whole bevy of images and messages about their pets across all social media platforms including Twitter, Instagram, and TikTok during the pandemic. Work based platforms, such as Slack also have their fair share of pet pics.


As you’d imagine, psychologists have been studying human/animal interactive behaviour for some time. One of the reasons behind our love of our pets is that most owners tend to infantilise them, unless they’re working dogs for the army or police. Or, in other words, pets provoke our nurturing instincts. They’re vulnerable (yes, even your scratchy cat), and they need us for food, warmth and security - pretty much in the same way that a baby is utterly dependent on its parents.

Humans are biologically programmed to respond to big eyes, and cuddly bodies. In the middle of the Coronavirus pandemic, we feel rudderless, there is little on which we can depend - so nurturing another dependent being is a psychologically tested coping strategy for homo sapiens.

George Michael the cat, playing with a plant

How could you not fall in love with George Michael playing? Photo by Tabby Farrar @georgemichael_therescue

Cute science

One of the reasons behind the influx of animal images can be compared to proud parents posting pics of their newborn. Or, that our animals are providing humans with comfort during a time of immense stress. When we pet and interact with our companions our brains are stimulated and provoke a mesocorticolimbic response.

This results in a surge of dopamine - the brain’s pleasure transmitter - which biologically means that we feel better. We enjoy the pleasurable interaction between pet and human. It makes us feel good.

You only have to look at the success of therapy animals. These fantastic critters help reduce anxiety and have provided a proven aid to loneliness. They also assist those on the autistic spectrum, as well as older and vulnerable people suffering from isolation among other challenges.

It’s in the eyes

Researchers from the University of Portsmouth have carried out research that highlights that when dogs create ‘expressive eyebrows’ humans will always respond. Dogs have evolved to enhance their attraction to humans. This action appeals to humans as it makes the dogs appear more childlike.

Puppy inside a plant pot

Thanks to Blooming Artificial for this photo

This facial attraction has evolved over centuries. But given that at this time - the time of the virus - most of us can only interact through a screen, the fact that there is a real, genuine attention seeking being in our homes helps our confidence and our happiness levels.

We love our pets

Understanding human behaviour is something that The User Story relishes.

Aayla, the newest cutest The User Story puppy

Meet Aayla, the latest addition to The User Story crew

We’ve discovered that we work best when our pets are in our office, and we are not alone. With the ‘Bring your pet into work’ movement gaining traction and with the current working from home ethos, the importance of contented and productive teams is even more important than ever.

We are always here to help, if you want to tweak your website or SaaS app, discuss its effectiveness or just want to talk about new trends. We are, after all, The User Story.

Celina is a good friend of The User Story, and we’d like to thank her for writing this article for us. If you’re interested in working with a fab copywriter and editor, you should get in touch with her!

Photo by Mia Anderson on Unsplash

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If you want to reduce development costs, build a new digital product, or just improve the experience for both your customers and your bottom line, we should talk.

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