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The benefits of the Big Screen

CULTURE

Who knew? But new research has revealed that spending just a couple of hours watching a flick in the cinema gives your mental and physical health a boost. Being glued to the Big Screen also, say the University College London (UCL) researchers, helps kickstart your memory, and increases levels of creativity and productivity. 


In the study, biometric sensors were attached to 51 participants as they watched the live remake of Aladdin. Meanwhile, the researchers observed how their minds and bodies reacted during the two-hour film. What became clear was a healthy but “noticeable increase” in the cinemagoers’ heart rates — akin to “a light form of cardio”. Furthermore, during the cinematic experience, the participants’ heart rates began to beat as one. An increase in “emotional arousal” was also recorded. 

Commenting on the study’s outcomes, Dr Joseph Devlin, professor of cognitive neuroscience at UCL, said, "Cultural experiences like going to the cinema provide opportunities for our brain to devote our undivided attention for sustained periods of time. At the cinema specifically, there is nothing else to do except immerse yourself.”  


People’s capability to stay focused plays an important role in boosting mental resilience, say the researchers, as problem-solving requires a concentrated effort to overcome barriers. “In other words,” said Dr Devlin, “our ability to work through problems without distraction makes us better able to solve problems and makes us more productive. In a world where it is increasingly difficult to step away from our devices, this level of sustained focus is good for us.


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