The Detroit Zoological Society (DZS), in partnership with researchers at Michigan State University, conducted a study to prove that humans would exhibit reduced levels of stress upon viewing animals at the Detroit Zoo.
Participants in the study were hooked up to electrodes in a laboratory setting, given a verbal math test and asked to deliver an off-the-cuff speech. They were then separated into three groups and shown video of either a plain white screen, Detroit traffic or animals at the Detroit Zoo. MSU scientists measured stress indicators such as heart rate, skin conductance and facial reactions. Results showed that stress levels were lowest among the participants who viewed the animal video.
Participants were then introduced to otters, giraffes and butterflies at the Detroit Zoo. Pulses slowed. Heart rates decreased. Moods lifted. They reported feeling less stressed and anxious compared to when they started the lab procedure.
These findings come as no surprise to the DZS, but rather confirm what has always been known. The Detroit Zoo is a sanctuary not only for animals but for people as well, a place to relax and recalibrate. If you’re feeling tense, frazzled, keyed up or even blue, a good place to go to feel better is the Detroit Zoo.