Psychology of TV Binge Watching

Are you currently addicted to a virtual sedentary lifestyle by daily watching repeats of your favourite TV show or documentaries? I read an excellent research article recently published in the Journal of Health Psychology by Emily Walton-Pattison of Newcastle University, in which she provides a scholarly definition of binge tv watching. She further explains the reasons as to why people indulge in it.She defines binge watching as when you watch more than two episodes of the same tv show in one sitting.. Its a habit that has become more frequent since the popularity of DVD boxsets and streaming TV services.

When I was involved many years ago with Celebrity Big Brothers Big Brain the nature of the show was as a social psychological experiment which caught the imagination and intrigue of the large scale audiences at the time. I couldn’t but help but watch repeats over and over again but my rationale for that was to examine more of the body language gestures and also to bring scholarly commentary on various aspects of the housemates behaviour seeing something different each time i repeated the action.

However, current psychological researchers now inform us that scholarly findings show sedentary behaviour is positively associated with binge tv watching increasing risk of clinical obesity and interferes with healthy sleeping habits. They surveyed 86 people recruited via social media about their binge watching habits and psychological constructs, such as whether they might experience regret after a binge session. The findings suggested that the participants had bing watched on 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.

A quarter of the differences in how much people binged was explained by their intentions to binge and expectations that it would be rewarding. a fun thing to do. Other factors were that they experienced automaticity…ie doing it without planning it or really thinking about it. They experienced also regret and goal conflict as they felt bingeing interefered with their other social activities which were associated more with fun and less or no bingeing. They concluded that researchers need to explore many more aspects of binge tv watching and discover more ways to curtail peoples television bingeing habits.