Addicted To TV? This Is Why

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TVAddictionPhoto: Courtesy Of ABC.
We all have our vices. For some, it's alcohol. For others, shopping. Still others enjoy massages, or cheeseburgers, or a nice cat video. But, if there's one thing that unites all of us here at R29, it's that we all have a severe, very real, not-at-all-ironic TV obsession. Whether it's Breaking Bad (RIP), GoT, Downton Abbey, or my current favorite, Scandal, all of us have that one show that we just can't quit — even if we wanted to.

But, what exactly is it that gets us hooked? The clever bingewatchers over at Time have broken down the sneaky brain tricks your favorite shows are playing to convert you into a superfan. First on the list: Ever noticed the use of super-short shots, often interspersed with quick flashbacks and montages, on shows like 30 Rock? Research shows that this sort of ADHD editing can play with our sense of time, making us more likely to watch hours and hours rather than just one episode at a time. Of course, another thing that keeps us from closing that Netflix tab: the cliffhanger. How can we, mere humans, possibly be expected not to watch the next episode to find out whether the President will actually divorce his wife and marry Olivia Pope to make her the new First Lady?

Another devious tool of the TV trade: the way directors and cinematographers can manipulate viewers' focus in a scene. A Princeton study found that the more controlling the director in terms of dictating exactly where your eye goes at every moment, the more engaged the viewer becomes. This explains your House of Cards habit — the show is meticulously designed to minimize distraction and direct your full attention to the character at the center of the scene.

Click over to Time for the full list, and remember, when you're on your ninth hour of Arrested Development this weekend, it's not your fault — just blame it on the evil geniuses of the TV industry. (Time)