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‘Cuteness’: a cure for student stress?

Friday, 17 July, 2015

A new trend for treating student stress is emerging in the UK.

Designated Puppy-Rooms, where students can cuddle and relax with young Guide-Dogs-in-training have now been offered at two different universities.

Earlier this month, students at the University of Lancashire could book in to play with the pups for the price of £1.5 (about $3) and the event proved overwhelmingly popular.  Students at Newcastle University will now have the same opportunity during their exam period.

The University of Lancashire said they were prompted by research that showed people who viewed pictures of cute baby animals had improved fine motor dexterity and performed better in a visual search task.

The research found that cute pictures induced positive emotions in the subjects, and that those emotions resulted in improved motivation and attention.

In Australian schools, the need to curb student stress is also a growing consideration.

The 2014 Stress and Wellbeing in Australia survey, found that students were among the most stressed groups of Australians.

University of Melbourne students proved at the UMSU’s Stress Less Carnival that they weren’t immune to the charms of cute animals, lining up in the rain to spend a few precious minutes among the ducks, goats and rabbits.

Science student Jill Nacor said the petting zoo was her favourite part of the carnival.

As a dog owner, Jill says she knows about the benefits of having someone to cuddle.

“When I’m stressed I just give her a big hug.”