British study suggests surgeons, boxers and tennis players might benefit from watching films in stereoscope before taking on challenging tasks
A minority of filmgoers complain of dizziness and headaches, and previous studies have found that viewing in stereoscope offers no measurable improvement in enjoyment. But a new British study suggests that you may just improve your brain power by watching movies in 3D.
According to the research by Goldsmiths University neuroscientist Patrick Fagan and Professor Brendan Walker of Thrill Laboratory, participating filmgoers showed a 23% increase in cognitive processing ability after watching a movie in stereoscope. Their reaction times improved by 11%, and they experienced a “brain boost” for up to 20 minutes after viewing. The improvement in reaction time was five times that experienced by participants who had been watching a 2D movie.
“These findings are more significant than you might think,” said Fagan. “It is a fact that people are living longer and there is a noticeable decline in cognitive brain function in old age, which can impair future quality of life. There has never been a better time to look at ways to improve brain function. The initial results of this study indicate that 3D films may potentially play a role in slowing this decline.”
Two sources of information, Fagan’s cognitive brain tests and Walker’s brain-monitoring headsets, were used to complete the study of filmgoers at the Vue cinema in Piccadilly, London. Now Fagan and Walker believe 3D movies could be used to help improve the performance of surgeons and other professionals requiring superlative cognitive brain function, such as boxers or tennis players.
The study also found, perhaps unsurprisingly, that 3D provided more immersion for viewers than 2D, with a 7% uplift in engagement for viewers watching in stereoscope. But Fagan and Walker did not report on whether people watching in 3D enjoyed their experience more than those watching in 2D. A 2011 study by L Mark Carrier of California State University found that stereoscopy did not allow viewers to experience more intense emotional reactions, and offered no apparent advantage over 2D viewing in terms of enhancing the viewer’s ability to recall a film’s details. By contrast with the British study, it also suggested that 3D was no more immersive.
This article was written by Ben Child, for theguardian.com on Thursday 21st May 2015 13.24 Europe/Londonguardian.co.uk © Guardian News and Media Limited 2010