Neuroscientist Patrick Fagan, associate lecturer at Goldsmiths, and Professor Brendan Walker of Thrill Laboratory have found that watching films in 3D sharpens the brain for a protracted period after the movie has been watched and has a short-term ‘brain training’ effect.
The research, in which over 100 people were exposed to 3D and standard format films at Vue’s London Piccadilly cinema found that participants experienced a 23 per cent increase in cognitive processing. Reaction times were improved by 11 per cent. While temporary, watching a film in 3D gives the brain a ‘boost’ that can last up to 20 minutes after viewing, according to findings from the experiment.
Not only did 3D films have an absolute impact on brain performance, the research also found that the improvement in reaction time was five times higher as a result of viewing content in 3D versus 2D content. The improvement was 11 per cent for those who watched in 3D but by just 2 per cent amongst those who had viewed an identical clip in 2D. Cognitive processing was improved by twice as much, improving by 11 per cent amongst participants who watched the 2D film against a 23 per cent improvement seen in those who watched in 3D.
Fagan and Walker believe that watching films in 3D before undertaking tasks that require speed of reaction are likely to see enhanced performance.
Additional test results showed a significant 7 per cent shift in ‘engagement’ when consumers watched a film in 3D in comparison to 2D. Interestingly, spectacle wearers were more immersed by 3D than non-spectacle wearers.
Commenting on the results, Patrick Fagan stated, “These findings are more significant than you might think. 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.”