Children are more distracted than ever, from the immediacy of social networks to addictively competitive online games, but watching 3D films could help them focus, according to new research.
A traditional way to aid attentiveness has always been to remove distractions from the home - such as mess, clutter or noise. Also, limiting technology access with a daily time limit or gadget-free time, more supportive parenting and allowing breaks between concentration times are all tried and true strategies.
But a psychologist-led scientific study sponsored by RealD has shown ‘alternative’ mind boosters for attentiveness. The report partnered with child psychologist Richard Woolfson, who led the field-based study, and associate lecturer at Goldsmiths Patrick Fagan, who led a supporting scientific experiment.
In a sure-to-be controversial finding, they said that results showed that watching 20 minutes of 3D can improve learning ability in the short-term, just as children who listen to classical music may experience short-term improvement in concentration. The scientific element of the study analysed the brains of over 60 students aged seven to 14 while they watched a 3D movie at Vue Piccadilly. Results found that children experienced twice the cognitive processing speed (2.67) after watching just 20 minutes of a 3D movie. Fagan drew the conclusion that watching a 3D film before undertaking tasks that require speed of reaction – such as sporting activity or a timed exam – will likely result in enhanced performance.
With the school year in full swing, Fagan noted: “After a significant break away from study, for many young people, it can be difficult to get back into the routine of school work. This study shows that a trip to the cinema will not only provide excitement but can also have a positive impact on their cognitive state.”
He added: “3D films can play the role of ‘brain training’ games and help to make children ‘smarter’ in the short term. 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 process aspects of their environment more quickly. This is likely to be because 3D is a mentally stimulating experience, which ‘gets the brain’s juices flowing.”
Peter Woodruff, MD, RealD Europe, added: “We are constantly exploring and developing new technologies to make the 3D movie-going experience even better for audiences; however, in the meantime, it’s great to see the positive effects that 3D viewing has on cinema-goers.”