Why can't we stop watching series? Science explains it to you

Why can't we stop watching series? Science explains it to you

The 21:00 arrive at night and after a day of obligations the expected moment approaches ... blanket, dinner and a chapter of your favorite series ... wait, just a chapter? Well, you may know little, we may still have time to see the second ... or the third ... or a whole season!

Almost everyone loves the series, we could spend hours waiting for our favorite characters and even months waiting for a new season. There is nothing like a good story that catches us and makes us forget the daily stress, but sometimes our excessive love for them makes us spend productive time sitting at the screen, without yielding to our obligations and even sleeping less than normal ... ¿What do series have that easily become an addiction? The neurosciencehor and the psychology They can provide some explanations.


  • 1 We empathize with the characters and their stories
  • 2 The suspense and our brain reaction
  • 3 A refuge from stress
  • 4 Learning by imitation
  • 5 The “depression” post series

We empathize with the characters and their stories

Empathy is the ability to recognize the feelings of others And this is what happens to us when we visualize a story. Our ability to identify with other people, even in fiction, makes us internalize their emotions and feel that we participate towards a common goal. Therefore, when we get involved in complex and emotionally charged stories, we cannot help but want to know what will happen to them and if everything will end well in their lives.

Something like this has been demonstrated by Neuroeconomist Paul Zak of Claremont Graduate University. This researcher showed in a video how a father spent the last days with his sick son. In the physiological responses of the participants it was found as cortisol and oxytocin levels, hormones related to stress and empathy respectively, had risen after watching the video, especially among subjects who showed greater involvement behaviors.

The suspense and our brain reaction

A cliffhanger is an open end that simply leaves us "in the lurch" is that end of each season of Game of Thrones that leaves us with our mouths open and with an almost exasperating need to know more.

It seems that the anguish of not knowing what is going to happen is what causes our body to produce an excess of CRH, a hormone involved in the stress processes that makes us stay alert, which can even cause us to lose our sensation. of fatigue and continue clicking on the next chapter.

Further, When we enjoy our favorite show, our brain continuously produces dopamine, a neurotransmitter involved in brain strengthening that also influences our sense of pleasure when we take drugs or have sex, and this makes us feel addicted to this form of pleasure

Other studies have found that our brain tends to focus especially on what causes us suspense while ignoring the rest, that is why before a scene that keeps us alert, we feel so immersed in the screen that we forget that we have to wash our clothes or make dinner, as if we were in a “tunnel vision”.

People watching a game of Thrones end of season

A refuge from stress

Sometimes, we feel so full of daily stress that we need to take a break and watch series can be an escape from our real problems. A series marathon can be a temporary cure and an aid to disconnect from daily stressors that keep us cognitively alert.

In addition, you can join other people who watch the same show as a source of conversations with which to strengthen our social life and share points in common with others.

Imitation Learning

As we mentioned earlier, our identification with certain characters that may have points in common with us and our real lives (labor, personal, social ...), makes us learn from them by vicarious learning; that is, seeing a model similar to us, we can learn how to solve their problems or how things get more complicated with their behaviors.

The "depression" post series

The happiness or excitement of watching series is proportional to the sadness and the emptiness that leaves us when we can't see more episodes. We live in that moment a situation that can be considered of loss and we can feel little stimulated

In addition, when we return to reality is when the obligations that we have left aside are put on us: we have 6 hours left to have to get up, we have not prepared the food for the next day ... And our stress level can become even greater than at the beginning.

Therefore, we must strive to consume series responsibly, for example, by programming the number of episodes that we are going to watch per day and making sure that we balance this activity with others that also reinforce us such as going out with friends or doing something fun to not focus on. All our emotion in the series. Further, force us to carry out our obligations periodically before watching an episodeIt can be a way to use them as reinforcement and fulfill our tasks without entering into an addictive situation.