Self-control, goal interference, and the binge-watching experience: An event reconstruction study



Lades LK, Barbett L, Daly M & Dombrowski SU (2022) Self-control, goal interference, and the binge-watching experience: An event reconstruction study. Computers in Human Behavior Reports, 7, p. 100220.

High-speed internet connections and online streaming services gave rise to the possibility to binge-watch multiple television shows in one sitting. Binge-watching can be characterized as a problematic behavior but also as an enjoyable way to engage with television shows. This study investigates whether self-control explains the valence of binge-watching experiences as measured using the event reconstruction method. The study tests whether lower levels of trait self-control predict higher levels of negative affect and lower levels of positive affect during binge-watching. Additionally, the study tests whether these relationships are mediated by situational aspects of self-control (plans, goal interference, or automaticity). Regression analyses show that participants with higher trait self-control report lower levels of tiredness, boredom, guilt, and sadness when binge-watching compared to less self-controlled participants. These associations are partly explained by binge-watching interfering less with higher order goals for highly self-controlled participants. Lower levels of trait self-control are also associated with a stronger increase in happiness on initiating binge-watching and increased feelings of guilt after binge-watching. Overall, the study suggests that binge-watching is particularly pleasant when it does not interfere with other goals, which is more likely the case for individuals with high trait self-control.

Artificial Intelligence; Cognitive Neuroscience; Computer Science Applications; Human-Computer Interaction; Applied Psychology; Neuroscience

Computers in Human Behavior Reports: Volume 7

Publication date31/08/2022
Publication date online31/08/2022
Date accepted by journal01/08/2022
PublisherElsevier BV

People (2)


Dr Stephan Dombrowski

Dr Stephan Dombrowski

Honorary Senior Research Fellow, Psychology

Professor Leonhard Lades

Professor Leonhard Lades

Professor in Economics, Economics