Neurological study tests response to watching Blu-ray 3D, Blu-ray Disc and DVD, as new figures show European sales of BD doubling year-on-year
Blu-ray 3D delivers an enhanced, emotional entertainment experience that engages viewers more than standard Blu-ray Disc or DVD, according to neurological research released today. The research was carried out by the Mindlab International team at the Sussex Innovation Centre, Brighton, on behalf of the Blu-ray Disc Association (BDA). Testing the attention, emotion and engagement levels of different home entertainment disc formats on a group of subjects, the study found the Blu-ray 3D format to be the most effective, followed by Blu-ray Disc and then DVD.
The results arrive on the back of the latest Blu-ray Disc sales figures conducted by Futuresource Consulting, which show that the total European market for Blu-ray Disc sales in 2010 was 45 million units, virtually double 2009’s figure. With the UK sales accounting for nearly 30% (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 UK looks set to continue in 2011.
The neurological study, which was conducted by Mindlab International in late 2010, connected participants to monitoring equipment to record their heart rate, skin conductance (EDA) and brain activity (EEG) whilst watching film clips and trailers in Blu-ray 3D, Blu-ray and DVD formats. Subjects’ baseline readings were recorded before they were shown clips from three films in a random order to ensure that the results were as accurate as possible.
After comparing the total attention levels for each format, the results showed that on average, subjects were 12% more attentive when watching Blu-ray 3D compared to a Blu-ray Disc, and 17% 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%.
When recording emotional response, subjects experienced a significant increase when watching Blu-ray over DVD. This peaked with an 8% increase when watching Blu-ray 3D compared to DVD.
When measuring engagement, the results found subjects to be 7% more engaged when watching Blu-ray 3D over a Blu-ray Disc, and 12% 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% more engaged in the Blu-ray 3D clip.
Graham Heaton, Chairman of the European Blu-ray Disc Association (BDA) Promotions Committee said, 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.”
Duncan Smith, Managing Directorof Mindlab International, offers a scientific explanation, “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. 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”.
Dr David Lewis-Hodgson, Chairman and Director of Research for Mindlab International, adds, “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; 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.”
About the research
Research was conducted by Mindlab International ltd at the Sussex Innovation Centre in Brighton, between 8th and 11th November 2010.
There were 24 participants in the test (12 male and 12 female), all aged between 18 and 54 (average 34). Test participants watched three clips, in all three formats, from 90 to 180 seconds in length. The clips were all from major Hollywood studio produced films from the last 12 months (one action adventure, one family animation and one musical drama).
Skin conductance (electro-dermal activity EDA) is a sensitive psychophysiological index of changes in sympathetic autonomic arousal that is integrated with emotional and cognitive states. To measure EDA, participants were fitted with small electrodes to two fingers of their non-dominant hand. The effects of a stimuli cause a physiological reaction. As an individual becomes more emotionally aroused there is an increase in skin conductivity. Conversely, a lower EDA reading indicates a more relaxed state. Phasic EDA reflects both cognitive and emotional demands of a stimulus.
Brain activity, measured using EEG allows us to distinguish the following features:
* Attention – This is the amount of focus and concentration and any given time.
* Emotion Direction – This measures an approach or withdrawal response and indicates whether the emotional response of the participant is positive or negative.
These features are used, in conjunction with phasic EDA to create the engagement metric.