Good news: Society needs you to binge on Netflix. A recent study suggests that watching TV dramas can increase your emotional intelligence, which means watching TV might actually help make you a better person.
The study, published in Psychology of Aesthetics, Creativity, and the Arts, asked about 100 people to watch either a television drama (Mad Men or The West Wing) or a nonfiction show (How the Universe Works or Shark Week: Jaws Strikes Back). Then the participants took an emotional intelligence (EQ) test. The people who watched the fictionalized shows performed better on the test. Even when researchers changed up the shows, their results showed higher empathy in the fiction viewers.
The study suggests that complex narratives force viewers to think through problems from multiple perspectives, which helps them choose the perspective that seems most reasonable.