Warnings from television manufacturers that watching the idiot box in 3D might make them not just stupider, but clumsier, appear to be unfounded.
Researchers at the University of Newcastle treated more 400 people, aged four to 82, to TV screenings of animated Pixar classic Toy Story – in traditional 2D as well as 3D.
Afterwards, their motor skills and balance were tested – tasks included walking along beams, stepping through blocks and guiding a loop of wire along a track without touching it.
The results, published today in journal Royal Society Open Science, found there was no evidence watching movies in 3D "causes a detectable impairment in balance or in visuomotor coordination".
Some TVs however come with safety information claiming not only can they cause headaches, but in the case of one Samsung 3D the researchers looked at, "motion sickness, perceptual after effects, disorientation, eye strain and decreased postural stability… altered vision, dizziness, cramps, convulsions and loss of awareness".
But, at least when it comes to 3D TVs, the study found this wasn't the case. Of the 433 participants, 66 reported adverse effects (including headaches and eyestrain), and only nine reported feeling faint or dizzy – and some of them weren't even watching 3D TV, they only thought they were.
And the data collected by the researchers during the post-movie tasks found no relationship between ill feelings and performance.
The study only looked at televisions, not the 3D cinema experience.
"We have found previously that viewers report more adverse effects with 3D television and video games than they do with cinema. This may be because the shorter viewing distance exacerbates the vergence/accommodation conflict.
"Thus, it seems unlikely that [3D] cinema would cause detectable impairments of balance and coordination, given the lack of effect of 3D TV."