It's a terrible feeling when Netflix asks you if you're still watching. Not only are you being judged by an inanimate object, but you can't help but wonder, am I rotting my brain?
When you're binge-watching shows like Orange Is the New Black, Game of Thrones or Lost your brain is attempting to handle complex plots and a billion characters that it's difficult to keep straight.
Turns out that your brain can handle an unlimited number of narratives. Cognitive scientists have found that the brain's ability to process a number of characters and plots mirrors its ability to keep track of real-life relationships and interactions. This means that we're not overstimulating our brain with complex TV series, because our brain frequently handles our own complex reality.
The moral of the story is that your brain can pretty much handle unlimited binge-watching. Now your eyes and physical health probably cannot. They're are some detrimental effects linked with too many hours of television - sluggish personality, bad eyesight and mood changes to name a few.
The average American watches 40 hours of TV a week, and even as a TV lover, I do not approve of that egregiously high number.
I'm not condoning anyone never leaving their house to stay on Netflix all day. Please go outside, read a book or something. I'm just pointing out that cognitively, our brains can handle George RR Martin's sick need to include thousands of characters, families and subplots.