Watching a 3D film can more than double the concentration powers and cognitive processing of children, new research claims.
A study by visual technology firm RealD, led by child psychologist Dr Richard Woolfson and associate lecturer at Goldsmiths Patrick Fagan, suggests that children aged between seven and 14 experienced twice the cognitive processing speed and performed better in testing after watching 20 minutes of a 3D movie.
This is despite suggestions that attention spans in children have shortened in the last decade due to unlimited access to entertainment, including on-demand TV, gaming and social media.
A 2015 study claimed that watching 3D content had a similar effect to brain-training exercises.
Consumer psychologist Fagan said that the increased stimulation found in watching something in 3D “exercised” the brain and improved performance in the short term.
“3D films can play the role of ‘brain-training’ games and help to make children ‘smarter’ in the short term,” he said.
“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’.”
The experiment saw children given a range of cognitive tests before watching 20 minutes of a movie in either 2D or 3D at a Vue cinema before being tested again. The results showed those who saw the 3D content reacted faster and performed better in the second round of testing. Mental engagement also rose by 13% among 3D watchers.
Woolfson said that “supportive parenting” and regularly listening to classical music can also aid a child’s memory.
“Children now expect to flit from activity to activity in a matter of seconds, leaving them struggling when they need to concentrate for longer, for instance during a classroom learning experience,” he said.
“Setting a good example also matters – parents who check their smartphones or laptops during mealtimes or family activities shouldn’t be surprised when their children want to do the same.”