The scientific explanation why rewatching your favourite TV series feels so good

There has never been so much great TV at our fingertips!

With the rise of streaming platforms like Netflix, Hulu, Disney+ and Amazon Prime – not to mention all the traditional broadcast channels still producing a never-ending supply of quality TV drama – it’s not like we have a shortage of new series to explore.

So why do we like to rewatch things we’ve seen before?

Well, it turns out there’s a psychological reason why we return to TV series and movies where we already know exactly what happens.

A 2012 study from the University of Chicago Press, published in the Journal of Consumer Research, explains the act of “reconsumption.”

This can include anything from reading your favourite book again or relaxing in your regular spot at the local park.

But what’s the science behind this?

Cristel Antonia Russell and Sidney J. Levy explain in their paper’s conclusion: “Unlike the survival motives that drive evolutionary psychology, we find that consumers who chose to repeat hedonic experiences even just once are expressing and affirming their individual experience and its special meanings to them.”

They continue: “In this way, hedonic volitional reconsumption is in keeping with the etymology of the word ‘repetition.’

“Whether regressive, progressive, reconstructive, relational, or reflective, reconsumption is a petition, a form of actively seeking, a way of asking for something from the past, a way of becoming rather than returning.”

So next time you feel like watching all 52 episodes of Downton Abbey for the tenth time instead of trying something new, don’t feel bad about it!

Downton Abbey: The Complete Collection DVD box set is available on Amazon.