The Psychology of Your Scrolling Addiction - Deepstash
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The problem

The problem

We all want to use our time efficiently and productively, especially while at work. And yet, studies have shown that 77% of employees use social media while on the clock, many of them for up to several hours a day.

Take a few minutes to watch the videos and then the next thing you know, an hour has gone by. You’ve been sucked down the rabbit hole, watching video after video, while that big report sits, neglected, on your desk.

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Understanding the  🐇  hole

Understanding the  🐇 hole

Based on a series of studies with a total of 6,445 U.S.-based students and working adults it was identified three factors that influence whether people choose to continue viewing photos and videos rather than switch to another activity:

  • the amount of media the person has already viewed
  • the similarity of the media they’ve viewed
  •  the manner in which they viewed the media

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Have already viewed several videos

Have already viewed several videos

In the first part of the research, participants view either five different music videos or just one music video, and then we asked them if they’d rather watch another video or complete a work-related task.

In theory, one might expect that people would get tired of watching music videos after watching five in a row, reducing their desire to watch more of them. But in fact, we found that the opposite was true: Watching five videos made people 10% more likely to choose to watch an additional music video than if they only watched one video.

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Impact of framing the videos people watched as similar to one another

Impact of framing the videos people watched as similar to one another

Participants were shown the same two videos, but for half of the participants, we explicitly labelled the videos with the same category label (“educational videos”), while for the other half of the participants, we didn’t include a category label. We found that simply framing the videos as more similar via the category label made people 21% more likely to choose to watch another related video.

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Watching several videos consecutively

One group of participants complete two work tasks and then watch two similar videos, while the other group completed the same four tasks, but alternated between them (i.e., work, video, work, video).

Despite having done exactly the same activities, the order made a big difference: The participants whose video consumption was uninterrupted were 22% more likely to choose to watch another video than those who alternated between work tasks and videos

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How to combat the pull of rabbit hole

How to combat the pull of rabbit hole

  • Make an effort to just watch one video; if you really want to watch multiple in a row, choose videos that seem unrelated; or find ways to intentionally interrupt your viewing experience.
  • You can use a social media timer that prompts you to take a break after a certain amount of time, or even just consciously remind yourself to consume different kinds of content.
  • Find ways to reduce the similarity, repetitiveness, and relatedness of the content you’re consuming.

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CURATED BY

yugjain

Generalist. Great minds discuss ideas, average minds discuss events, small minds discuss people.

CURATOR'S NOTE

The results of a series of studies exploring what makes people more or less likely to get sucked into endlessly watching videos or looking at posts.

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