Study: 3D movies good for brain, more like ‘watching real-life’

[The key phrase in this report from BT (which features more pictures and two videos) is that the study’s results “[add] to the argument that 3D movies are more like watching real-life”; more details are in coverage by Forbes. –Matthew]

3D film study

How watching 3D movies could be good for your brain

A scientific experiment has shown 3D movies to have a positive impact on brain activity.

Last updated: 22 May 2015

If you’ve been to a 3D movie in the last couple of years, you can probably appreciate that it creates a more immersive experience.

However, a group of scientists and neuroscientists believe it can do more than just that – they say it heightens brain activity in such a way that it could actually be used to slow decline in cognitive function.

The experiment was carried out by a partnership between neuroscientist Patrick Fagan, and science group Thrill Laboratory. They gave a group of participants a brain-training, IQ-style test before showing them a segment from Disney movie Big Hero 6 in either 2D or 3D. They then had to take the test again, with the results being compared to provide the data.

It showed a 23% jump in cognitive processing and an 11% increase in reaction time among those who watched the 3D version of the movie [compared to 11% and 2% for the 2D version –ML].

We went down to Vue Piccadilly to try out the experiment for ourselves, and to see if 3D could make us a little bit sharper.

The headsets scanned brain activity, and this too showed heightened activity when watching 3D [vs. 2D –ML].

According to the results, participants were 7% more engaged with what they were watching, adding to the argument that 3D movies are more like watching real-life, and our own brain scan appeared to show the same results.

According to our own personal test results, reaction time went up by 7% after watching 3D, while verbal fluency – which involved writing as many words beginning with the same letter in a minute – went up by 33%.

The scan shows just how active our brain was during the 3D showing, with scientists saying this brain-training effect clearly has an impact.

“A 7% rise in emotional engagement is extremely noteworthy – watching in 3D gives the viewer such an enriched and quality experience, as these results show,” Thrill Laboratory’s Professor Brendan Walker said.

“In evolutionary terms, the results of both parts of the test certainly make sense,” Fagan added.

“As Professor Brendan Walker’s test concluded, 3D films are more immersive, heighten the senses and induce emotional arousal – this, in turn, makes the brain run at quicker speeds.”


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