Heart-racing 3D films can make children ‘smarter’ in the short term
14 June 2016
According to a new study, 3D can sharpen a child’s brain for a protracted period after the movie has been viewed and have a short-term brain training effect. The study follows-on from research in 2015 which looked into the impact of the different film formats on adults.
The experiment, involving 63 children aged between seven and fourteen, comprised a pre- and post-test design, with the participants completing a series of cognitive, social, emotional and physiological tests before and after watching a 20-minute clip from Disney’s live action version of The Jungle Book in either RealD 3D or 2D. Participants were recruited through Into Film, an educational UK-wide programme which includes a network of extra-curricular film clubs.
Commissioned in part by Vue Entertainment and conducted by behavioural scientist Patrick Fagan, associate lecturer at Goldsmiths, the experiment revealed an improvement in cognitive processing, with the young participants demonstrating faster reaction times post 3D-clip compared to 2D. Children were found to be quicker to react in a computer-based task, showing an average decrease in response time of 43 milliseconds post-3D, almost three times greater than that of a standard format film – a decrease of 16.1 milliseconds.
Watching films in 3D will likely result in enhanced performance
From this, Fagan believes that watching films in 3D before undertaking tasks that require speed of reaction – such as those who want to improve their ability in sports or even doctors about to undertake surgery – will likely result in enhanced performance.
This real world application was explored further, with participants tasked with playing a game of Operation before and after watching the movie clip, as a measure of concentration and attentiveness. In this study, participants were given two minutes to remove as many organs as possible, as carefully as possible – touching the sides of the incisions would set off a buzzer.
The number of game board pieces, buzzes and completion time were logged for each participant. Fagan found that 2D viewers set the buzzer off more often after viewing the film clip (19 per cent increase in buzzes on average) and 3D viewers set it off 13 per cent less often, suggesting that 3D films can induce a type of mental engagement that 2D cannot, as well as increased attentiveness.
Over the course of the two day experiment, a smaller sample of young participants were fitted with physiological sensors in order to capture their excitement – measuring their galvanic skin response (GSR) and heart rate. GSR is a well-established, sensitive measure of physiological arousal. Disney’s The Jungle Book in 3D was found to be more exciting than standard format, producing a GSR reading 14 per cent higher than that of a 2D film – akin to being driven twice as fast on the motorway (from 30km/h to 60km/h). 3D also was found to get the heart racing, with the average maximum recorded heart rate 17 per cent higher for 3D films than 2D – making it comparable to 79 per cent of a rollercoaster ride.
In addition to being cognitively stimulating and physiologically engaging, the immersive nature of 3D was also found to make for a more emotionally engaging experience, with a computer-based task using ‘emotions’ revealing that 3D resulted in a higher increase in ratings of surprise (32 per cent versus 5 per cent in 2D) and also a larger strength of feeling by 13 per cent.
‘3D films can play the role of brain training games’
“Following on from last year’s ‘3D Experiments’ study, we found that, just like for adults, 3D films can play the role of brain training games and help to make children ‘smarter’ in the short term,” said Patrick Fagan of Goldsmiths.
“The shortening of response times after watching 3D was almost three times as big as that gained from watching 2D; in other words, 3D helps children processing things in their environment more quickly. This is likely to be because 3D is a mentally stimulating experience which gets the brain’s juices flowing.
“In fact, amazingly, we also found that this impact on cognitive processing can potentially follow through into the real world, with 3D causing an enhanced performance on the surgery board-game Operation.
“The more realistic, immersive world of 3D ostensibly captures the attention of our limited brains because the experiences feel more real. As a result, it’s also more exciting than 2D – it’s comparable to 79 per cent of a rollercoaster ride,” Fagan concluded.
With children now facing so many technological distractions, child psychologist, Dr. Richard Woolfson is encouraged by the research findings.
“In an age where children’s concentration levels and attention spans are shorter than ever before and split-screening has become the norm for adults and children alike, it’s encouraging that children appear more attentive and more emotionally-sensitive after watching a movie in 3D, as well as finding the viewing experience altogether more exciting,” he said.
“An outing to the cinema has long been an enjoyable activity for parents and children, and 3D movies certainly add to the family fun. But results of this study show that young viewers can also benefit cognitively and psychologically from this exciting visual medium.
“So, parents can happily take their kids to a 3D movie knowing that not only is this an enjoyable family activity but that the children will gain added psychological value as well.”http://www.engineersjournal.ie/2016/06/14/heart-racing-3d-films-can-make-children-smarter-in-the-short-term/http://www.engineersjournal.ie/wp-content/uploads/2016/06/3D-Cinema.jpghttp://www.engineersjournal.ie/wp-content/uploads/2016/06/3D-Cinema-300x212.jpgTech3D,technology