Taking AuNatural out of Nature: Pixalated Play Could Have Serious Consequences

As most of us are well aware, virtuality already deprives many children of time spent in the 3-dimensional, natural world.  But is there danger in 3D?

Does mediated, 3D exposure alter the area in a child's developing brain responsible for processing 3D images as well?

One major problem is caused by the way movie 3D images trick our visual system.

The eye is hardwired to track and refocus on objects as they approach, but because a 3D display is not actually getting closer, the brain is forced to constantly override this impulse.

Research at the University of Texas at Austin suggests a large set of rich and important functions related to 3D motion perception may be bypassed in the MT+ region of the brain if real cues are consistently absent from objects the brain initially perceives as moving.

Tests revealed how the MT+ area processes 3D motion:  It simultaneously encodes two types of cues coming from moving objects.

There is a mismatch between what the left and right eyes see.  This is known as binocular disparity.  When you alternate between closing your left and right eye, objects appear to jump back and forth.  For a moving object, the brain calculates the change in this mismatch over time.

Simultaneously, an object speeding directly toward the eyes will move across the left eye’s retina from right to left and the right eye’s retina from left to right.

“The brain is using both of these ways to add 3D motion up,” says  says Alexander Huk, assistant professor of neurobiology at U of T- Austin.  “It’s seeing a change in position over time, and it’s seeing opposite motions falling on the two retinas," adds Huk.

Television manufacturers are aware of the potential ill-effects of mediated 3D viewing, with Samsung's Australian website warning that its sets can cause "motion sickness, perceptual after effects, disorientation, eye strain, and decreased postural stability".

The UK's Association of Optometrists echoed Samsung's warnings against excessive use, particularly for children.

"Children need a clear, sharp image in each eye in order for their vision to develop properly. If anything upsets that balance it could affect the visual development resulting in 'amblyopia' (lazy eye) or a squint," said spokeswoman Karen Sparrow.

"Similar to adults using computer screens at work, a sensible regime would be to have a break of five minutes after an hour's use."

The American Association of Optometrists said those who suffer from motion sickness or already have depth perception troubles are likely to come away from a 3D film feeling queasy.

This is one reason why, for adults,  a movie playing 3D effect often seems very intense at first -- with characters and images that lunge towards the camera.  Though, toward the later part of the film, many seasoned viewers notice the 3D less and less.  After the initial wow factor, 3D  gimmickry "doesn't mesh" with a brain that has consistently experienced real 3D. 

Young children, however, will stay transfixed and seemingly begin to condition the same part of the brain that processes 2D images with ersatz 3D imagery.


see:  http://www.futurity.org/science-technology/scans-show-brain%E2%80%9... for more details. 


As well as entries in Child and Nature Network discussing Visual tracking of Objects in Nature.

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Comment by Randy Eady on January 26, 2017 at 4:23am

Sun deprivation's been known to associate to myopia for many years, but it is only one of the downsides of avoiding the sun, which associates w/cancer, mood disorders, multiple sclerosis & numerous other maladies.  Here is a list of reasons sun exposure is so vital to human health:

• The Melanoma International Foundation states that since 1935, melanoma incidence has INCREASED BY 3,000%. At the same time, sun exposure in the U.S. has DECREASED by 90%.
•A Spanish study shows women who seek the sun have one-eleventh the hip fracture risk as those who avoid sun.
•Men who work outdoors present half the risk of melanoma.
•Women who totally avoid the sun face 10x the risk of breast cancer.
•Women who sunbathe regularly have half the risk of death during a 20-year period compared to those who stay shut-in.
•Sun exposure dramatically improves mood.
•Beyond vitamin D, sun exposure also stimulates production of endorphin, nitric oxide and BDNF, all of which are vital to human health.
•Regular sun exposure also reduces high blood pressure, heart disease, psoriasis and multiple sclerosis (MS).
Also, unlike UVA, UVB is a healthy light constituent present in midday most of  the year. Though UVB's not present at all if the sun is not above 30º, and UVC is at its highest concentration at solar noon.  A little sun in the middle of the day is the best recommendation.

For the science-based references, visit http://sunlightinstitute.org/

Comment by Randy Eady on October 22, 2013 at 6:18am


Comment by Randy Eady on March 10, 2011 at 4:21am

Want a real 3-D gaming experience (that combines technology with good, old fashioned neighborly fun)? 

Give this a try:


We did an old fashioned pirate treasure hunt last year with our lads that combined web-based digital research with clues that required reaching-out and actually (physically) meeting people around the neighbor to piece together a map.


Also, on visual tracking:  myopia is an area of focus (pun intended). 


See:  http://suzlipman.wordpress.com/2011/03/09/in-gps-era-map-reading-sk...

re: studies about the increase in myopia from a lack of exposure to nature

Lipman writes:   "I can only imagine what it’s like for kids whose vision is taken up with a lot more than mine — with fast-moving games rather than relatively static web sites."


As a result, I train peripheral vision as a part of our "Toes Knows"  natural walking, tumble and recovery class.  More and more good info is coming out and we’re using the latest flash sonar technique (technology) for the visually impaired to navigate in natural surrounding…like echo-location. Currently designing “an electronic vibrational navigation tools” for a “seeing-sound garden” project. In addition, this is a nice piece of research:

“Humans constantly shift objects between central and peripheral vision and may encounter effects like the curveball’s break regularly,” the authors wrote. “Peripheral vision’s inability to separate different visual signals may have far-reaching implications in understanding human visual perception and functional vision in daily life.”

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