Behaviour Change

PROPAGANDA FOR CHANGE is a project created by the students of Behaviour Change (ps359) and Professor Thomas Hills @thomhills at the Psychology Department of the University of Warwick. This work was supported by funding from Warwick's Institute for Advanced Teaching and Learning.

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Next episode in 10 seconds - Default Effect contributes to Binge Watching Netflix 

Binge watching is watching 2-6 episodes of a show in one sitting (Spangler, 2013). There are many reasons to binge watch for instance the more thrilling the show, the longer it’s watched (Pittman & Sheehan, 2015).

Personally I binge watch Netflix while eating. The ending of an episode serves as an external cue for my meal cessation as it did for 145 Americans in a research, where an empty plate or the end of a show marked the end of their meals (Wansink, 2010). However other external cues may be at play as well. 

I observed that when an episode ends, it automatically plays another episode in the next 10 seconds until and unless you actively chose not to. It seems very similar to the default effect where the default option will be automatically opted for in the case of no active choosing (Thaler & Sunstein, 2008). People tend to stick to the default due to the powerful effect of inertia where inaction is preferred over action (Korobkin, 1998). Therefore in my opinion, the default option of the next episode playing automatically may be a contributing external factor to binge watching especially for the lazy procrastinators that we all are!


Korobkin, R. (1998). Inertia and preference in contract negotiation: The psychological power of default rules and form terms. Vand. L. Rev.51, 1583.

Pittman, M., & Sheehan, K. (2015). Sprinting a media marathon: Uses and gratifications of binge-watching television through netflix. First Monday, 20(10).

Spangler, T. (2013). Netflix survey: binge-watching is not weird or unusual. Retrieved from

Thaler Richard, H., & Sunstein Cass, R. (2008). Nudge: Improving decisions about health, wealth, and happiness.

Wansink, B. (2010). From mindless eating to mindlessly eating better. Physiology & behavior100(5), 454-463.

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