Is watching reruns a guilty pleasure? Well, cast aside your shame, lovers of old "Seinfeld" episodes, "I Love Lucy" addicts and closeted "Full House" fans: a new study finds you are not wasting your time; you're replenishing your spent powers of self-control so you can tackle challenges ahead.
Research published recently in the journal Social Psychological and Personality Science suggests that far from zoning out in front of the tube, "people seek out familiar fictional worlds to become rejuvenated."
The study demonstrates this by showing in several experiments that subjects who have engaged in arduous mental activity or had to maintain tight control over their emotions were far more likely in the following hours to seek out a rerun to watch, and overwhelmingly chose to watch a reliable favorite rather than to see a new show or movie or to zone out in front of whatever was on when they turned on the tube.
And for those that watched a beloved rerun, mood and mental focus -- as demonstrated by subjects' willingness to respond to a prompt with a longer essay -- came back more quickly.