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Spent the weekend watching Game of Thrones? You're a FAT LONELY SADDO

Amazing discovery by PhDs in, erm, advertising

You thought it was harmless, didn't you? Settling down on the sofa, firing up your trusty smart TV, stream-o-dongle or similar - or for the retro types, unwrapping your new boxset of DVDs - and getting ready to burn up a day or two watching an entire telly series end to end.

Well brace up, my sessile friend, because there's news out of Austin (Texas). And here's a fact for you: if news is good, it isn't news. This is news. And it's about you.

Yes, it seems that some of the top brains of Texas uni's Austin campus have got together and looked into the matter of "binge watching". It turns out that people who do it are, essentially, lonely saddos.

Don't trust us, trust these words from the International Communication Association:

A recent study by researchers at the University of Texas at Austin found that the more lonely and depressed you are, the more likely you are to binge-watch.

The researchers conducted a survey ... They found that the more lonely and depressed the study participants were, the more likely they were to binge-watch TV, using this activity to move away from negative feelings.

The findings also showed that those who lacked the ability to control themselves were more likely to binge-watch. These viewers were unable to stop clicking "Next" even when they were aware that they had other tasks to complete.

Little empirical research has been done on binge-watching since it is such a new behavior. Psychological factors such as loneliness, depression, and self-regulation deficiency have been known as important indicators of binge behavior in general. For example, people engage in addictive behaviors to temporarily forget the reality that involves loneliness and depression. Also, an individual's lack of self-regulation is likely to influence the level of his or her addictive behavior.

It seems you just sit there, immobile, clicking on the next episode like one of those nodding dogs to shut out the bleak reality of your existence.

One of the researchers who did the research is Yoon-Hi Sung, a third year doctoral student. And she's got more bad news. You're not just sad and lonely, you're probably unfeasibly fat too. And you're an untrustworthy, antisocial slacker.

"Physical fatigue and problems such as obesity and other health problems are related to binge-watching and they are a cause for concern," she barks, sternly.

"When binge-watching becomes rampant, viewers may start to neglect their work and their relationships with others. Even though people know they should not, they have difficulty resisting the desire to watch episodes continuously."

Sung did the study together with Eun Yeon Kang, another PhD student, and Wei-Na Lee, an actual professor. So this is hefty stuff. The three savants plan to present their research at a conference, and everything.

Oh wait. There is just one tiny problem. The ladies are all in the department of, erm, "advertising and public relations". The unfortunate Professor Lee, in fact, holds master's degrees in journalism and advertising as well as her PhD in "communication".

Whoops. Sorry to have bothered you. ®

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