Study Says Binge Watching TV Makes It Less Memorable and Enjoyable

monkeymagick

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A new study suggests that binge watching TV may lead to a less memorable and enjoyable experience than watching shows on a weekly basis. During viewings the participants of the study were tasked with hitting a spacebar on a keyboard whenever a character would perform certain action. They were later given three quizzes; 24 hours after finishing the season, then one a week later and finally, 140 days later. The show used for the study was a six-episode BBC drama called The Game.

As the researchers found, the mode of viewing had a significant effect on the study participants' ability to remember the show. For instance, binge-watchers had the strongest memory performance the day after watching the show, but this retention also had the sharpest decline over 140 days. Weekly viewers on the other hand, showed the weakest memory performance 24 hours after finishing the show, but also demonstrated the least amount of memory dilution over time.
 

lironmiron

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Ah the great enjoyment of watching an episode ending in "to be continued" and having to wait an entire week to find out that you're not getting the continuation because the production order does not match the airing order. How I miss it!
 

Exavior

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I can see that. As for being less memorable. You are taking in more information at once with less time to process it. If you watch a show week by week, you watch 45 minutes of the show (using a 1 hour show as an example), then think about what you just watched in the episode, discuss it with other people.. this makes parts of that episode stand out more in your mind as you only have to think about that 45 minutes that you watched. By contrast if you watch 12 hours of a show back to back to back, you aren't going to have that time to think between episodes about what you just seen, nor have the interaction with others to make you think more about what you seen. So after you get through all of it, less about the show is going to stick with you. The enable part could be seen as unstable to a small degree also. Depending on the subject if you watch it for too long you could get burned out a lot faster then watching it in smaller pieces. Other shows you might get more enjoyment by not having to wait. Although I could also see where waiting to see what happens next could help make things be more rewarding and thus be more enjoyable instead of getting instant gratification for wanting to know what happens next.
 

NeoNemesis

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Some shows are more fun to binge than others. I think it largely depends on how popular it is. The more popular the show the more likely you are to talk about it with friends and coworkers when you come in on Monday.
 

michalrz

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I binge watched, among others, all of House, Breaking Bad and The Wire. Out of the three, I remembered least from House because the cases and format tend to blend together, it's a repeatable series. The other two I had no problem with and enjoyed them thoroughly. The Wire I've seen like 6 times since.
 

nysmo

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lol total horseshit. All my best memories are from binge watching shows on Netflix. Lost, The Office, Parks and Rec, House of Cards, Narcos, Stranger Things, The Fall, The OA, Bloodline, etc etc etc. In fact the shows I have the hardest time remembering and dont even really want to rewatch are Game of Thrones, The Wire, Sopranos, etc. That just took such a huge chunk out of my life I feel it's over and done with.
 

rive22

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Total horseshit for sure. I only watch series seasons episodes back to back now. You capture far more detail in the overall storyline that way and it's definitely more pleasing than waiting on cliff hangers week after week.

The one comment of talking about popular shows with co-workers every week makes sense, especially with live reality shows or comedy shows. Otherwise nah.

The worst was intense shows like "24". I'd have anticipation anxiety for like a day afterwards just from the weekly cliff hanger. That's when you know a show is very good, but not fun at all waiting the week to week. I watched all nine seasons weekly like that. Then watched them all again back to back a few years later and it was far more pleasurable.
 
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percydaman

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What a load of shit. I've said it for awhile: binge watching makes a bad show tolerable, and a tolerable show good. That doesn't apply to all shows, but an awful lot in my experience. Case in point: The Walking Dead. I can't stand that show if I'm waiting week to week, and then the mid season break. But if I binge watch it, it's alot more tolerable. That's an extreme case, but there are a lot of shows that are similar.
 

lostin3d

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I don't know if I would call the experience less memorable but I've noticed a trend among about a half dozen netflix and amazon shows where it can take 3-5 episodes before things start moving and the build up is sometimes hard to sit through. On one hand, some nice development, on the other a lot of scene chewing. Still take it over commercial tv any day of the week or the wait till it comes on schedule.
 

Jagger100

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I think you can wring more out of it in terms of anticipation, water cooler talk, marketing. If there was enough episodic shit to watch that was worth a shit, people wouldn't binge.
 

Dk975

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I agree with this. When I binge watch Netflix, I don't tend to remember as much as when I watch a single episode or just a couple of episodes. I watch House of Cards, and I can only sit there and watch maybe 2 episodes in a sitting. I think my brain needs time to process each episode, and binge watching doesn't allow that to happen. The real problem is waiting almost a full year for Netflix shows to come back, as I forget what happened at the end of the previous season.
 

McDork

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I can follow the story line better when I binge watch. Maybe I have a short attention span.
 
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Dk975

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More mindless shows, like Kimmy Schmidt, F is for Family and Master Of None, I can binge watch in 2 days no problem.
 

DoubleTap

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I somewhat agree with the premise but I also don't think there is anything to be done about it. My theory is that when you watch 7 seasons of a show over 7 years, the experience over time is much different. Binge watching is like a long movie - an event - where as watching over time is more of a process or maybe a relationship.

I don't think one is better than the other, but they're very different.

My biggest issue with regular TV is that when you find a new show you like, it's canceled after the 1st, 2nd or 3rd season - and the more you like it, the more likely they are to cancel it without a proper wrap up. I prefer not to watch shows on streaming when there is only one season then it's canceled. I'd much rather find something with 3-7 seasons so you can dig in.
 

Seelenlos

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I enjoy both. I do think weekly shows have more of a social component compared to binge watching a Netflix show. For example Game of Thrones I would end up talking about it with 3 or 4 different people at work after it aired. So that could be anywhere from an hour to several hours of conversation with friends about the show, what happened, new and changing theories. That is for each episode.

Netflix show like any of the Marvel ones end up being less talked about, in my experience. We might spend an hour or so talking about what we liked or did not like about the show and maybe guess about what the next season might be like. But that is it. And if someone is slow and falls behind and doesn't watch it until weeks later it may never be talked about. So in that regard I get way more enjoyment out of weekly shows than I do binge watching.
 

Domingo

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Video games have killed my ability to binge watch anything. After an hour (sometimes less), I get antsy.
 

DoubleTap

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Video games have killed my ability to binge watch anything. After an hour (sometimes less), I get antsy.

I think that's why I have a very hard time watching movies compared to serialized TV - movies are longer at a sitting, then done. TV can be more bite sized and on-going (at least for a while).
 

Comixbooks

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The screen is so big with TVs today all you do is get a big dose of light and nothing else physically you can analyze the light as much as you want but it will just make you a TV crtic. Good for controlling the masses though while keeping people off the street. I haven't watched TV since the CRT days since TVs today just suck. Even going from a 27" monitor back to a 24" helped make things more enjoyable for videogames.
I just play on the weekends also heck with the rest.
 

Sonicks

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Video games have killed my ability to binge watch anything. After an hour (sometimes less), I get antsy.

I feel similar but I wouldn't say antsy is the word.

Lately I've found it hard to sit and play or watch something for that long because I feel like I'm 'not doing anything'.

Been hitting the gym and riding my bike around a lot lately so I think that adds to my inability to 'sit around'. It sucks because sometimes I really do want to unwind but I get that antsy-ness.
 

Domingo

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I think that's why I have a very hard time watching movies compared to serialized TV - movies are longer at a sitting, then done. TV can be more bite sized and on-going (at least for a while).

I think in my case, I see a movie as something I can make it through. There's an end in sight. 90-120 minutes and the story is done.
When it comes to TV, if I'm more than a season behind, it feels too daunting. I don't feel like dedicating 8-20 hours to anything, even in small pieces.
I guess I could probably swing it if I could keep a Netflix window open at work, but that's frowned upon...
 

travisty

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Most TV is crap. I've honestly given up on american media.

I've binged anime and the good ones - Code Geass - is stellar whether watched week by week or binged. FLCL (aka Fooly Cooly) same, though at only 6 episodes it's easy. Others like Kono Subarashii Sekai ni Shukufuku wo! are better week to week as too much of this gets old.
 

Comixbooks

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TVs flicker more than anything know to man they just flicker everytime they change the angle showing something off on a commercial. You wonder what that does to a persons brain after a while gives them ADD. The same reason slot machines and gambling are so addice the false notion of a actual payout after the light arouse you and play with the reward center of the brain.
 

Mav451

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I binge-watched Narcos over Labor day weekend - and it was glorious.
I'll be doing the same for Stranger Things lol.
 

Ur_Mom

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I dunno. I just read 5 studies on this last week and came up with the same conclusion. I'm bored.

This one, though? Fuck yea. I'm on board!

Depends on the show. Some shows have that cliff hanger, which meant something. You waited a week in anticipation and you HAD to watch the next one. Binge watching, you don't get that same excitement or anticipation. You get your answer in 5 minutes. Almost like an instant gratification thing. Comedies, it doesn't matter. You can binge watch Cheers or Frasier and enjoy the hell out of it. Fringe or Heroes or other similar one, maybe not. The cliffhangers are there, but they are meaningless to a point. It's like a cliffhanger in the middle of a movie... it's just not a big deal anymore.

I still like binge watching those shows, but they aren't the same as when they originally aired. At least you're able to watch them in the correct order (looking at Fox and their Firefly fuckup).
 

Comixbooks

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My Grandma bing watches TV in a nursing home watching cable see where it's gets you in life.
 

Dan_D

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I can follow the story line better when I binge watch. Maybe I have a short attention span.

Personally, I'm more likely to drop a show and quit watching it when I can't binge watch episodes. I'll forget to DVR it, or I'll lose the schedule because I had to replace the DVR and forget about the show. With Netflix, I can binge the season and it tells me when the show is back with new episodes.
 

singe_101

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Is there a term for one episode per night but they're all available? Moderation?

That was faster than ten weeks for Westworld but watching 5 and 5 in two nights would addle my brain.
 
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Binge-watching anything means longer and more satisfying naps for me.

I support whole-heartedly.
 

thesmokingman

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In sex, imagine getting to third base and she's like, "Ok, let's stop right there and pick it up next week, ok?"


I binge-watched Narcos over Labor day weekend - and it was glorious.
I'll be doing the same for Stranger Things lol.

You should add the Leftovers onto your list.
 

DukenukemX

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Yea no, binge watching is the only way to go about it. Waiting a week to watch a single episode drives me up a wall. That's why I just kinda ignore some shows and just come back later and binge watch it, for maximum enjoyment. Also you get to see the plots easier that way.

Whoever came up with this study didn't want people to subscribe and then unsubscribe from services.
 

tetris42

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Ah the great enjoyment of watching an episode ending in "to be continued" and having to wait an entire week to find out that you're not getting the continuation because the production order does not match the airing order. How I miss it!
The secret is many shows tend to lull in the middle. That's the place to stop and turn them off and resume later.
 

rive22

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The secret is many shows tend to lull in the middle. That's the place to stop and turn them off and resume later.
True.

Actually what I do is watch a whole previous season after the first episode of the following season has aired so I can watch that episode right after without a hanger. Then stop there. Repeat the following year. Sometimes skip a year or whatever, but eventually catch up if I'm still into it.
 

nutzo

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Video games have killed my ability to binge watch anything. After an hour (sometimes less), I get antsy.

So I assume you didn't even try to watch the extended editions of the Lord of the Rings movies :p
 
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