The first study on the psychology of binge TV watching

Posted on May 6, 2016

Photo: flickr

Many of us have fond memories of staying home and watching TV for the whole day, but researchers disagree. Binge TV watching contributes to sedentary behaviour, increases risk of obesity and interferes with healthy sleep habits.

They surveyed 86 people (recruited via social media) about their binge TV watching habits and various psychological constructs, such as whether they expected to experience regret after a binge session. Based on the researchers' definition, the participants had binge-watched an average of 1.42 times in the past week, taking in an average of 2.94 episodes in 2.51 hours. BBC iPlayer and Netflix were the most popular means of bingeing.

Many participants explained that their intention for binge watching was the expectation that it would be a rewarding, fun thing to do. Others claimed they "did it without thinking", while others explained their low levels of binge watching due to anticipated regret and goal conflict (seeing bingeing as interfering with other activities).

The researchers said that "further more in-depth and rigorous research into being watching is warranted" but that their preliminary findings already offer hints as to how to curtail people's binge watching habits.

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Source material from BPS Research Digest

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