Who's to Blame? Nostalgia Found to Be the Reason Why People Love to Watch Reruns

Dec 17, 2015 09:01 PM EST | By Denise Valerie Uychiat


There are about a few thousand movies or TV shows that would never make us want to stop watching them. Each movie or TV show we always watch has that one liner we repeatedly follow when the specific scene comes.

Some people don't understand why others like watching reruns time and again. It's as if the first time was not enough. Turns out, there's actually a scientific explanation why we do that. Yup, that's right, I said WE. I am just as guilty as those rerun-loving citizens of the world. There is nothing wrong with you if you can't get enough of reruns, even if you have already seen it a gazillion times. It's your psyche.

Old reruns are the perfect nostalgia trigger your brain loves so much. It's the same reason why you re-read the Percy Jackson series every chance you get, listen to One Direction's "Perfect" a million times a day, or watch "The Holiday" every December 24th.

Psychologist Neel Burton, author of Heaven and Hell: The Psychology of the Emotions, told The Huffington Post that there are a lot of things we don't exactly feel the desire to re-watch or re-read, especially in today's world with unlimited access to entertainment and cultural materials. The things we do feel obliged to re-watch or re-read are those who give us either comfort or perspective.

So this is what usually happens, Nostalgia penetrates your inner life by becoming a source of comfort you can tap into anytime you feel lonely or when you're longing for something or someone for a period of time that's already passed. It makes us feel good when we reminisce, and even better because we can escape the current reality. The best part about it is the feeling we get after without exerting too much effort.

"Our everyday is humdrum, often even absurd," Burton explained. "Nostalgia can lend us much-needed context, perspective and direction, reminding and reassuring us that our life is not as banal as it may seem. It also tells us that there have been -- and will once again be -- meaningful moments and experiences."

Researchers also find that the act of repetition also plays a role. Derek Thompson wrote in The Atlantic that since human beings love predictability, re-watching or re-listening to something gives us a rewarding feeling because it's totally easy to process: The scientific term for this is "mere exposure effect," meaning that we like something more merely because we've been previously exposed to it. So there is evidence not only that we replay songs that we like, but also that -- up to a certain point! -- we like songs the more often that we play them.

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