Personally, I love Netflix. There’s a very high possibility that if I’m not doing work or in class, I’m watching Netflix. To me, there’s nothing like being able to binge watch my favorite shows in the comfort of my own home… or dorm. Since its release, Netflix has been a very integral part of my life. Reflecting on how much I watch Netflix made me realize that there is rarely a day that passes where I don’t watch an episode. Since I know that many people share this love for Netflix and may watch it as much as I do, I decided to investigate. It is my very love for Netflix that led me to question the effects that it could be having on my body, or specifically, my brain.
After researching for a conclusion, I came across an article that elucidated a longitudinal observational study done by scientists in which they examined people who tend to binge watch Netflix, or TV, and scarcely participate in exercise then tested their neurological abilities with standardized tests. Immediately after reading this I recognized a potential fault in the study; standardized tests and their accuracy as an interpretation of how smart someone is. Nevertheless, the researchers conducted the study over 25 years where they watched 3,247 people from the ages of 18 to 30 (see x). Every five years they would have the participants answer questions about how much TV they watched and how much physical activity they engaged in and at the end of the 25 years, they would be given 3 cognitive tests (see x). The results showed that those that binge watched TV and barely participated in physical activity were twice as likely to do bad on the exams. (x)
What I concluded from the study is that although it shows a correlation with their hypothesis, there is no causation as there can be third or confounding variables that may contribute to the participant’s failure to perform well on the exams. Thus, with no causation there is no mechanism to explain the connection. My conclusion was further confirmed upon my discovery of another article reflecting the effects of binge watching TV and brain function (see x). The information in this article was provided by a researcher from the Northern California Institute for Research. The researcher claimed that through her research she was able to conclude, just like the other study, that there is a correlation between exercise, binge watching TV, and brain function. Despite this, she agreed that there is no concrete evidence that it could really effect one’s brain. (x)
I was personally very happy with the results. While a rational person may consider not binge watching Netflix or TV as much since it may actually damage your brain, I am going to take advantage of the lack of causation by continuing to express my love for Netflix and TV through binge watching.