The Psychology Behind Why We Watch Reruns

A 2012 study showed that watching reruns can give you more self-control, energy and happiness, as published by University of Chicago Press. It even found that returning to a difficult task after taking a break by watching an old episode can make the task easier and you will have more energy, focus, and a better mood.

I have always found comfort in the predictability of what I am watching when I put on an old episode of Star Trek. This assumption was verified by psychologist Neel Burton, author of Heaven and Hell: The Psychology of the Emotions. Dr. Burton says the nostalgia we receive re-watching makes us feel good. The ancient Romans called the phenomenon “memoria praetaritorum bonorum,” or Rosy Retrospection, that the past is always remembered in an idealized way.

Frankly, I think it is possibly a more basic concept, why we can watch reruns tirelessly. It is like seeing old friends anytime. These are characters who have been with us all our lives. They will always be there, and there is tremendous comfort in that alone. I think we all have people who are no longer in our lives and we wish they still were. We have control over when our shows are on and for how long.

Many of us also suffer from anxiety. Well, every study done on this subject has found reruns are a good remedy. It reaffirms there’s order in the world and that it can create a sense of safety and comfort on a primal level. Thanks again to Dr. Burton. Not Levar, but the aforementioned Neel Burton; there is no relation.

While watching Star Trek has many benefits, we can also be grateful there have been zero negative effects reported. Watching old and new Star Trek will in fact make you a better person. You will be better off psychologically, spiritually, and geopolitically. The views in Star Trek promote nothing but acceptance and generosity towards your fellow sentient beings. Enjoy.

 LCDR Dan Parker – Chief Engineer