Clinical Study Finds 3D Blu-ray Stimulating
By Greg Tarr -- TWICE, 3/31/2011
London - In case you needed clinical documentation, a team of neurological researchers here has determined that 3D Blu-ray delivers an enhanced emotional entertainment experience that engages viewers more than standard Blu-ray Disc or DVD -- at least in England -- according to a new study.
Working on behalf of the European Blu-ray Disc Association (BDA), the Mindlab International team at the Sussex Innovation Centre, Brighton, tested over three days last November, 24 subjects evenly split between males and females between the ages of 18 and 54 years old.
Test participants watched three clips in all three formats (3D Blu-ray, 2D Blu-ray and 2D DVD) from 90 to 180 seconds in length. The clips were all from major Hollywood studio produced films from the last 12 months covering three different genres.
The team measured skin conductance (electro-dermal activity EDA), which is a sensitive psychophysiological index of changes in sympathetic autonomic arousal that is integrated with emotional and cognitive states, using small electrodes attached to two fingers of the non-dominant hand.
In addition, brain activity was measured using EEG to distinguish attention, and emotion direction (approach or withdrawal response determining positive or negative reactions).
The result: the 3D Blu-ray format was the most effective, followed by Blu-ray Disc and then DVD.
The study findings were released in conjunction with new Blu-ray Disc sales figures conducted by Futuresource Consulting, showing that the total European market for Blu-ray Disc sales in 2010 was 45 million units, virtually double 2009's figure, according to the European BDA.
With the U.K. sales accounting for nearly 30 percent (13 million sales) of the European total and more 3D content now making the transition from cinemas to the home, Blu-ray's popularity within the U.K. looks set to continue in 2011, the Euro BDA said.
After comparing the total attention levels for each format, the study results showed that on average, subjects were 12 percent more attentive when watching Blu-ray 3D compared with a Blu-ray Disc, and 17 percent more attentive when watching a Blu-ray Disc over a standard DVD. When comparing attention levels between Blu-ray 3D and a DVD, attention levels jumped by an incredible 29 percent.
For emotional response, "a significant increase" was determined when watching Blu-ray over DVD, but peaked with 3D Blu-Ray at an 8 percent increase when watching 3D Blu-ray compared to DVD.
Audiences were 7 percent more engaged when watching 3D Blu-ray over a Blu-ray Disc, and 12 percent more engaged when watching a Blu-ray Disc over a standard DVD.
When comparing engagement levels between Blu-ray 3D and a DVD, subjects were found to be 18 percent more engaged with 3D Blu-ray.
"This study shows that Blu-ray isn't just a huge step up technically, it also delivers a better and more engaging viewing experience in the home. When you watch a Blu-ray Disc, you feel every moment with more emotion, drama and excitement. When you add 3D to the mix, it only enhances the experience further," stated Graham Heaton, European BDA promotions committee chairman.
"This study has shown how format change affects the viewer on both a conscious and a non-conscious level. The sharper contrast of the Blu-ray formats allows the brain to process more of what is being seen as less effort is needed to focus on certain objects," said Duncan Smith, Mindlab International managing director. "3D is a fully immersive format, increasing engagement in viewers. The fact that subjects were witnessed as having increased eye movement and head movement is testament to this. The 3D technology draws attention to peripheral images on the screen and, coupled with Blu-ray quality definition, it is able to deliver footage that increases engagement and emotional response over all other formats".
"Psychological research into perception suggests that the brain inherently prefers 3D images and interprets 2D images as 3D where possible," said David Lewis-Hodgson, Mindlab chairman and research director. "This makes evolutionary sense since the real world is 3D; 2D images such as images in print or on screen have existed only since our vision perception evolved to the stage at which it is now. As evidence suggests that humans decode visual information as 3D, we can therefore infer that actual 3D images are more pleasing to the visual system than traditional 2D images."