Duh Aficionado Magazine: Reruns Don’t Make You More Productive

By Gabe Delahaye / September 7, 2012

There is a new scientific study out of the University of Buffalo that suggests that watching a rerun of a favorite TV show can help to motivate you to get things done and achieve your goals. So that’s clearly all bullshit. (Psychcentral via TheAwl):

In the paper, two studies are described by Jaye Derrick, Ph.D. Derrick believes that willpower and self-control are components of our emotional bank account and as such, are limited resources that can be used up. “People have a limited pool of these valuable mental resources,” Derrick said. “When they use them on a task, they use up some of this limited resource. Therefore, they have less willpower and self-control for the next task. With enough time, these mental resources will return. However, there may be ways to more quickly restore them.”

One of these ways is to watch your favorite TV show again, Derrick’s research found. Doing so, she believes, taps into the surrogate relationship people form with the characters in their favorite shows. We find it comforting, mainly because we already know what the characters are going to say and do. All we have to do is sit back and enjoy it. “When you watch a favorite rerun, you typically don’t have to use any effort to control what you are thinking, saying or doing. You are not exerting the mental energy required for self-control or willpower,” Derrick said. “At the same time, you are enjoying your ‘interaction,’ with the TV show’s characters, and this activity restores your energy.”

Hahhaha. VERY GOOD SCIENCE! Everyone at Nasa is like. This pretty much explains why all of the world’s great thinkers and doers are always sitting on the couch waiting for The Drew Carey Show to come on before the 6 o’clock news. “Not now, honey, I am busy replenishing my self-control and willpower energy reserves, but when this episode is done, then I am going to invent a new medicine!” And that’s how we got airplanes and Gatorade.