Binge-watching TV shows means you're a lot less likely to remember them 1 year ago

Binge-watching TV shows means you're a lot less likely to remember them

How's your memory these days?

Binge-watching TV shows has become 'the new normal' for a lot of people, especially with streaming services like Netflix giving us brand new full seasons in one go and automatically rolling into the next episode without us having to leave our respective comfort zones.

It's easy to lose an entire day to a show that you're not even really all invested in (aside from finishing it out for the sake of it) and you might not even remember all that much about it afterwards.

This strange phenomenon is down to essentially swapping out our brains for our phones, computers, and other devices and platforms that can store quickly-accessible information.

It all sounds like a bad Black Mirror episode, but a study carried out by research fellows at the University of Melbourne argues that the way we take in media and information in today's fast-paced world is negatively impacting our headspace.

Consuming content all in one sitting - and it applies to books, too - means that we don't allow the information to leave our "working memory."

“So long as you know where that information is and how to access it, then you don’t really need to recall it,” says Jared Horvath, one of the researchers in question.

For the purposes of the study in question, Horvath split viewers into two categories; those who watched TV shows on a weekly basis, and those who prefer to binge.

He then quizzed both sets of people on their memory of what they saw, finding that binge-watchers scored highest immediately after watching the show, but ultimately scored lower than the weekly viewers after 140 days had passed.

Horvath also recorded a further negative knock-on effect as binge-watchers reported enjoying the show overall less than those who watched once a day or weekly.

As for how best to reinvigorate the brain, it's pretty straightforward; taking breaks between episodes and discussion with friends who are watching the same thing are more likely to reinforce the memory and help the show in question take hold.

It all used to be so much easier.