Watching 3D movies improves cognitive function: Study

People who have watched 3D movies would readily agree that they get a more immersive experience from it, but a group of scientists and neuroscientist believe it could do much more than that.

Research shows a heightening of brain activity in a manner that could actually slow decline in cognitive function.

The experiment was conducted under partnership between neuroscientist Patrick Fagan, and science group Thrill Laboratory.

A group of participants was given a brain-training, IQ-style test before they watched a segment from Disney movie Big Hero 6 in either 2D or 3D. They were then asked to take the test again, and the results were compared to provide the data.

The researchers noted a 23-per cent jump in cognitive processing and an 11-per cent increase in reaction time among those who watched the 3D version of the movie.

The results showed that participants were 7-per cent more engaged with what they were watching, adding to the argument that the experience of watching 3D movies was like  real-life.

According to Thrill Laboratory's professor Brendan Walker, a 7 per cent increase in emotional engagement was extremely noteworthy – watching in 3D gave the viewer such an enriched and quality experience, as these results showed.

The research also showed brain function from watching 2D films also rises, but only an 11 per cent rise in cognitive processing and just a 2 per cent increase in reaction times, showing that 3D really did seem to reach the brain parts 2D just could not reach.

The researchers used some highly impressive high-tech methodology to obtain the results.

The subjects were first given a short series of cognitive and memory tests on a computer, which included remembering ever-growing series of numbers; writing in 60 seconds as many words as they could think of beginning with the same alphabet; rapidly decoding  a series of symbols on the basis of a translation key; finding re-occurrences of a specific number in a huge number grid; distinguishing as quickly as possible between the letters O and Q when they popped up on screen; and answering a series of complicatedly worded True/False questions based around a series of geometric shapes.

Next, the subjects were given many-tentacled Emotiv EPOC+ sensors to measure brain activity in 14 different areas of the brain, and taken to watch the same film clip (the climactic battle in Big Hero 6).

While some test subjects watched the clip in 2D while the others watched it in 3D.