There is a new scientific study out of the University of Buffalo that suggests that watching a rerun of a favorite TV show can help to motivate you to get things done and achieve your goals. So that’s clearly all bullshit. (Psychcentral via TheAwl):

In the paper, two studies are described by Jaye Derrick, Ph.D. Derrick believes that willpower and self-control are components of our emotional bank account and as such, are limited resources that can be used up. “People have a limited pool of these valuable mental resources,” Derrick said. “When they use them on a task, they use up some of this limited resource. Therefore, they have less willpower and self-control for the next task. With enough time, these mental resources will return. However, there may be ways to more quickly restore them.”

One of these ways is to watch your favorite TV show again, Derrick’s research found. Doing so, she believes, taps into the surrogate relationship people form with the characters in their favorite shows. We find it comforting, mainly because we already know what the characters are going to say and do. All we have to do is sit back and enjoy it. “When you watch a favorite rerun, you typically don’t have to use any effort to control what you are thinking, saying or doing. You are not exerting the mental energy required for self-control or willpower,” Derrick said. “At the same time, you are enjoying your ‘interaction,’ with the TV show’s characters, and this activity restores your energy.”

Hahhaha. VERY GOOD SCIENCE! Everyone at Nasa is like. This pretty much explains why all of the world’s great thinkers and doers are always sitting on the couch waiting for The Drew Carey Show to come on before the 6 o’clock news. “Not now, honey, I am busy replenishing my self-control and willpower energy reserves, but when this episode is done, then I am going to invent a new medicine!” And that’s how we got airplanes and Gatorade.

Comments (18)
  1. I would think that one is more productive when, after finishing an episode of Wings, one realizes that the show went off the air 15 years ago, and holy shit I am not getting any younger, maybe I should do more with my life?

  2. Let’s all test this theory by watching That 70′s Show in syndication

  3. im gonna watch the simpsons episode where homer is on a baseball team and mr burns tells don mattingly to shave his sideburns over and over again and darryl strawberry is there before he got arrested for pot 54 times.

  4. Well, isn’t a lot of creativity about lighting up neurons and making them talk to other neurons? (I’m a scientist, by the way. (College psych minor.)) What I’m saying is I’ll bet watching reruns of Arrested Development lights up all kinds of interesting pathways. I mean think of how many AD quotes you’ve applied to unrelated situations in your everyday life/this pop culture blog.

  5. i watch party down all over again when i feel bad and it makes me feel better

  6. What if I’m watching a What’s Happening rerun? Do I get DOUBLE smart?!

  7. I think this is totally legit, because whenever I watch a classic rerun of The Vampire Diaries, I feel really motivated to watch six more episodes of The Vampire Diaries.

  8. Counter Duh Aficionado: Watching the same show over and over again does make me more productive!

    Of course, maybe that’s related to my recent relocation to Germany. Whenever I finally have a new US/British tv season/series shipped here I watch it like an addict.

    • I used to live in Germany! We had a satellite dish and watched a lot of British/Fox tv. Thank goodness for that dish.

  9. Frankly, this just sounds like the excuse scientists use to justify sitting around in their underwear and lab coats watching Friends all day.

  10. I’m not sure who I believe more (or less): The research–however questionable–done by two academics, or the attempt to refute it by a blogger in his pajamas.

  11. well, this definitely SOUNDS like bullshit, but i also don’t think i’ve ever not completed a final* (good sentence) while watching a rerun of the golden girls at four am, so WHO AM I TO ARGUE.

    *i’m also a graphic design major, so it’s not as if i’ve applied this to a whole lot of “real” school work. (it also explains my perfect sentence structure.)

  12. I call bullshit. Watching Frasier reruns makes me way more productive when I want to tweet about Frasier reruns.

  13. Also not productive: Reading back issues of Duh Aficionado Magazine.

  14. At least my Alma matter does study’s on blow jobs

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