Human Brain Responses to Media
Reading news from a newspaper activates the ventral striatum area of the brain compared to reading news online. TV viewing is also associated with an increased risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease. Watching sad movies increases the pain threshold (18%) due to the release of endorphins from the brain.
Physiological Human Brain Responses- Reading a Newspaper VS Reading News Online
- Reading news from a newspaper activates the ventral striatum area of the brain compared to reading news online. The ventral striatum is the area of the brain which signals desire and valuation.
- Reading news from newspaper requires less cognitive effort (21%) compared to reading news online which makes the content more memorable and understandable.
- As per research by Canada Post, people who read the content of the news on newspapers recollected it 70% higher compared to people who read news online.
- As per Temple University Study, using fMRI brain scans concluded that content read through newspaper increases readers memory speed and confidence, stimulation, desirability, and valuation compared to content read through online news.
Physiological Human Brain Responses- Watching TV
- According to an English Longitudinal Study of Aging, people who watch TV more than 3.5 hours may experience a cognitive decline.
- People who watch TV more than 3.5 hours may also experience a decline in verbal memory, semantic fluency and fluid intelligence.
- TV viewing is linked to a decreased ability to critical thinking because when a human is watching TV, the brain activity switches the logical and critical responses from the left side to the right side, which uses only emotional response.
- TV viewing is also associated with an increased risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease.
Physiological Human Brain Responses- Watching Movies
- According to a study led by Robin Dunbar of the University of Oxford, watching sad movies increases the pain threshold by 18% due to release of endorphins from the brain when compared watching documentaries.
- According to another study conducted by Ohio State University, an increase in endorphins after watching sad movies can relieve people from stress, increase pain threshold by 13.1%, and create a state of happiness and tranquility.
- As per the Yale Scientific fMRI study, movies have more control over brain activities such as pattern recognition to motion perception when compared to other unstructured videos such as comedy shows, etc.
- In the same study, researchers concluded that people watching the same movies experience the same brain stimuli.
To gather information on physiological human brain responses to reading online news vs. reading a newspaper, watching TV, and watching movies, we deep-dived into numerous academic research journals, university publications, medical articles and surveys such as Tandfonline, Yale Scientific, ScienceDirect, NCBI, and Mapping Ignorance among others. We were able to find sufficient information from these sources.
We also used some non-academic literature that happened to have compiled information obtained from academic journals since most of the relevant academic journals were locked behind the paywalls. We also added sources that were published beyond the 2 years timeframe that we consider for recency of information because we established that they provided a comprehensive understanding of the topic and that the information captured from them is not time-dependent.