Watching 3D films 'response to slow brain decline'

Watching films in 3D improves short-term functioning of the brain in the same way that brain-training tests do, a group of scientists have said.

An experiment led by a neuroscientist from Goldsmiths University has found that people who watch video in 3D exercise their brain and have improved cognitive skills compared to those who watch in 2D.

A total of 100 people took part in the experiment and watched Disney film 'Big Her 6' in either 2D or RealD 3D, after carrying out a brain-training-style test before and after seeing the film.

The test covered memory, reaction times and cognitive function and the results were then compared.

According to the research participants experienced a 23 per cent increase in cognitive processing, as well as an 11 per cent increase in reaction times.

Neuroscientist Patrick Fagan, an associate lecturer at Goldsmiths, said that the results showed enough of an improvement in brain function to suggest that 3D could play a part in improving brain power in the future.

“These findings are more significant than you might think,” he said.

“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.”

The second part of the study involved the participants being fitted with headsets that scanned brain activity and this too confirmed heightened activity when watching 3D.

According to the results, participants were 7 per cent more engaged with what they were watching, adding to the argument that 3D movies are more like watching real-life, something Professor Brendan Walker from Thrill Laboratory, research partner, agreed with.

“A 7per cent rise in emotional engagement is extremely noteworthy – watching in 3D gives the viewer such an enriched and quality experience, as these results show,” he said.

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

“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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