Michael R. Austin
Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.
Date of Graduation
Master of Arts (MA)
Department of Graduate Psychology
Binge-watching, defined as consuming at least three episodes or three hours of video media in one sitting, is an increasingly prevalent behavior in the digital age. But scant research exists investigating how binge-watching affects memory for what was watched. Literature surrounding the spacing effect, defined as superior memory for information presented repeatedly across longer spans of time, would predict a memory deficit for binged material. However, findings from previous unpublished research by Fogler and colleagues do not align with this prediction. To investigate the dissonance, the aim of this research is to replicate and extend the work of Fogler and colleagues, addressing the question: Does binge-watching result in poorer memory for what was watched? University students (n = 92) were randomly assigned to a group that either 1) watched three episodes of the Netflix series, House of Cards, in one three-hour long session (massed) or 2) watched these same episodes spaced out over a three-week period (i.e., one episode a week; spaced). After a retention delay of either one week or four, participants’ memory of episode content was tested using the Binge-Watching Episode Assessment. A 2x2 factorial ANOVA was conducted to investigate the effect of viewing condition (spaced, massed) and delay (one-week, four-week) on memory. Results indicate no consistent benefit of spacing out episodes. At a delay of four-weeks, binge-watchers actually had substantially better memory than their spaced counterparts. Consistent with deficient processing accounts, elevated attention for binged content is discussed as a possible mediator.
Austin, Michael R., "Binge-watching and the Spacing Effect" (2021). Masters Theses, 2020-current. 113.