Memes, we all know and love them. From rage faces to wojak, memes are a core part of online discourse and culture. One researcher at Pennsylvania State University noticed an uptick in memes about the stresses faced during the COVID-19 pandemic, and wondered if these memes had any benefit outside of being good for a laugh.
The study was conducted in December of 2020 and had 748 participants that were randomly placed in either the control group or the meme group. The control group was shown a text description of a COVID-19 meme, a text description of an unrelated meme, or a news headline about car stereos, while the meme group was shown 3 COVID-19 meme images.
Participants where then asked to rate their reactions, their levels of anxiety, positive emotions, their confidence in their ability to cope with the pandemic and stress about the pandemic.
The results showed higher levels of positive emotions from participants in the meme group. These participants were also more likely to feel confident about their ability to cope with the pandemic and were also less likely to feel stressed about COVID-19.
One interesting find in this study was the humor response was unrelated to the coping efficacy indicating that “different positive emotions may have different effects on coping outcomes”.
Original Article: https://www.psypost.org/2021/10/memes-can-help-people-psychologically-cope-with-the-covid-19-pandemic-62031