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3D is 29 per cent more engaging than 2D say brain scientists

Theory of evolution to blame
Wed Mar 30 2011, 17:00

EYE-BOGGLING 3D Blu-ray has been the focus of an experiment to see how emotional people get watching three-dimensional movie clips compared to plain old 2D ones.

Described as a "neurological" experiment and carried out by Mindlab International on behalf of the Blu-ray Disc Association, 12 men and 12 women aged 18 to 54 had to watch clips and trailers for three movies three times, once in standard definition DVD format, once in Blu-ray and then finally in 3D Blu-ray.

There is no evidence that these human guinea pigs were subjected to crazy flashing colours, lights and mind bending whacky BBC Radiophonic workshop-like sounds like Michale Caine's character was in The Ipcress File. But having to watch any part of the 2010 remake of Clash of the Titans thrice over must have some human rights implications.

If that wasn't bad enough another of the movies was the teen dance flick Step Up. Extraordinary substance abuse might not have been reported during this part of the experiment but we at The INQUIRER would certainly have needed to have a stiff drink or two to get through even a few minutes of brainless teen dialogue.

The third film was Despicable Me, which is a children's film, raising the question, why would anyone bother showing even clips of this to 18 to 54 year olds, even for science?

Strapped into what most people would call a lie detector or polygraph, oddly enough from all those Hollywood movies, the guinea pigs' heart rates, skin conductance (EDAs) and brain activity (EEGs) were recorded. What wasn't recorded was whether anyone had said anything like, "Oh God how much more of this is there?" or "Please can I go now? I'll be a good person, honest."

With this EDA and EEG wizardry Mindlab says it is able to measure attention, emotion and engagement. By attention it means the amount of focus and concentration at any given time and by "emotion direction", it means emotion or to scientists out there "an approach or withdrawal response that indicates whether the emotional response of the participant is positive or negative". So, whether they liked it or not.

Unsurprisingly attention levels for 3D Blu-ray were 29 per cent greater than for DVD, while the figure for engagement was 18 per cent higher and emotion, or emotion direction, was a measly 8 per cent higher. The INQUIRER imagines the emotional reaction was probably influenced by boredom.

Mindlab International's chairman and research director Dr David Lewis-Hodgson gave a blazingly obvious explanation for the apparent preference for 3D over DVD 2D, saying, "Psychological research into perception suggests that the brain inherently prefers 3D images and interprets 2D images as 3D where possible. This makes evolutionary sense since the real world is 3D." Utterly astounding. µ


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