Here at Seeker World Headquarters -- actually a renovated luxury apartment in the Van Beardswick section of Brooklyn -- we keep several TV shows in rotation for office binge-watching. Game of Thrones. Arrested Development. Naked and Afraid, naturally.
Now comes news from the world of psychology that binge-watching has measurable benefits for strengthening relationships. We knew we were on to something. Julian Huguet has the details in today's DNews dispatch.
A new study recently published in the Journal of Social and Personal Relationships surveyed 259 college students, asking them how much media they shared with their partner and the nature and status of their relationship. The results showed that couples who spent significant time binge-watching TV shows and movies together felt closer and more committed.
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Here's the interesting part: The study also asked respondents how many friends they shared with their partner. The results suggest that, the fewer friends a couple has in common, the greater the positive impact of binge-watching on emotional intimacy.
The research team has a hypothesis on all this. Lead author Sarah Gomillion proposes that characters in the TV shows and movies actually serve as substitutes for a real-life circle of friends. This makes sense, in that previous research suggests couples who share a circle of friends feel more connected and committed.
The new study, from the University of Aberdeen, is latest to examine the emerging phenomenon of binge watching, largely facilitated by streaming media services like Netflix and Amazon Prime. Other research has not been so optimistic. A 2015 study from the University of Texas found that people who are lonely or depressed are more likely to binge-watch television, which can cause them to neglect other health and social issues, creating a vicious cycle.
The moral of the story: If you're going to binge-watch, do it with a friend. And seriously, check out those back episodes of Arrested Development. Which network genius decided to cancel that show?
-- Glenn McDonald
Psychology Today: Why TV Is Better For Your Relationship Than You Think
Science Daily: Feelings Of Loneliness, Depression Linked To Binge-Watching Television
Daily Mail: Have You Ever 'Binge Cheated' On Your Partner? Hi-Tech 'Commitment Rings' Will Only Let You Watch New Episodes With Your Partner