The impact of binge watching on memory and perceived comprehension


  • Jared C. Horvath Science of Learning Research Center at the University of Melbourne
  • Alex J. Horton
  • Jason M. Lodge
  • John A.C. Hattie



Binge-Watching, Television, On-Demand Streaming, Enjoyment, Memory


Binge watching via video-on-demand services is now considered the new ‘normal’ way to consume television programs. In fact, recent surveys suggest upwards of 80 percent of consumers prefer and indulge in binge watching behavior. Despite this, there is no evidence regarding the impact of binge watching on the enjoyment of and memory for viewed content. In this, the first empirical and controlled study of its kind, we determined that, although binge watching leads to strong memory formation immediately following program viewing, these memories decay more rapidly than memories formed after daily- or weekly-episode viewing schedules. In addition, participants in the binge watching condition reported significantly less show enjoyment than participants in the daily- or weekly-viewing conditions — though, important considerations with regards to this finding are discussed. Although it is a preferred viewing style catered to by many internet-based on-demand distribution companies, binge watching does not appear to benefit sustained memory of viewed content and may affect show enjoyment.

Author Biographies

Alex J. Horton

Research assistant with the Science of Learning Research Centreer at the University of Melbourne.

Jason M. Lodge

Senior lecturer with the Melbourne Centre for Study of Higher Education at the University of Melbourne.

John A.C. Hattie

Professor with the Melbourne Graduate School of Education at the University of Melbourne.




How to Cite

Horvath, J. C., Horton, A. J., Lodge, J. M., & Hattie, J. A. (2017). The impact of binge watching on memory and perceived comprehension. First Monday, 22(9).