BY: Adrian Smith
Binge watching: taking in more than two episodes of the same show in a single sitting.
The ‘hook episode,’ as coined by psychologists at Netflix, is the exact episode that keeps TV watchers on their couch to continue a series. To give an example using some of Netflix’s most popular TV series: the hook episode is 3 into House of Cards, 6 for AMC’s Mad Men, and only 2 episodes in for Breaking Bad.
Researchers from the Journal of Health Psychology took a look at the process behind binge watching TV. Their aim was to determine what motivates people to binge watch, and how they felt about their habit afterwards. The study included a survey of 86 people revealing how much time they spent watching, then regretting, the binge.
Researchers also asked how often these habits cut into their every day responsibilities and commitments. What’s also cool—these researchers had their subjects explain their decision making process as it pertains to the binge watching: Are people consciously sitting down to watch this many episodes, or is it something that passively happens, maybe an episode or two in once a show automatically continues to the next episode?
What researchers found is that people are likelier to binge watch if they see it as something that happens automatically, rather than with their own conscious doing—information psychologists now believe can reduce binge watching for people who would rather not stay up late into the night, hour after hour, episode after episode. Seems that annoying Netflix pop up can pull us out of our lives, or at least let us decide, purposefully, where we’d like it.