Study: Viewing animals at the Detroit Zoo reduces stress

Detroit Zoological Study, Michigan State conduct survey

Giraffes at the Detroit Zoo. (WDIV)
Giraffes at the Detroit Zoo. (WDIV)

DETROIT – A study conducted by the Detroit Zoological Study and Michigan State researchers found that viewing animals at the Detroit Zoo reduces stress.

"Biophilia refers to the natural tendency of humans to focus on and to affiliate with nature and animals," said Ron Kagan, DZS executive director and CEO. "These findings confirm what we at the DZS have always known -- the Detroit Zoo is a sanctuary not only for animals but for people as well, a place to relax and re-calibrate."

Participants were hooked up to electrodes in a lab setting, given a verbal math test and asked to deliver an off-the-cuff speech, researchers said. They were separated into three groups and shown video of either a plain, white screen, Detroit traffic or animals living at the zoo.

Scientists measured stress indicators such as heart rate and facial reactions, and results showed stress levels were lowest among the people viewing animals, researchers said.

Participants were introduced to otters, giraffes and butterflies at the zoo and pulses slowed, heart rates decreased and moods lifted, according to researchers. People reported feeling less stressed and anxious, researchers said.

Click here to learn more about the study.

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