Binge Watching: Are Series Addicting?

Causes of binge watching

Experts suspect two main reasons behind the series addiction factor:

Alleged stress relief and avoidance

For many people, the play button seems to be a kind of pause button from reality, especially after a stressful day, they want to have fun and relax. Experts talk about what’s known as escapism: anyone who feels depressed and lonely flees into an imaginary world so as not to have to deal with their sadness, stress and problems.

This is also supported by the results of a survey conducted by the Netflix streaming service. About 3,000 Americans have been asked to state why they watch the series. The result: Three quarters of respondents said binge watching was a “welcome escape from their busy life”.

Sense of belonging: Series as a surrogate family

The series satisfy the human need for social belonging. For 20-60 minutes, the viewer can feel safe in the company of an imaginary clique or family, without having to pretend or make an effort.

Social psychologists call this the “social surrogate hypothesis”. It has not yet been adequately documented. However, there are some studies that indicate that people are more likely to participate in a TV marathon when they feel lonely and depressed. Experts suspect that the sight of a family community (albeit fictitious) may compensate to some extent for this feeling of lack of social support.

In addition, fans of the series seem to be generally more inclined to binge watching: they are less able to deal with open and ambivalent situations than others. For example, they feel stressed when stocks are still open. In this context, the experts speak need for closure, i.e. the need for a degree. Series producers use it by deliberately ending episodes with cliffhangers.

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