Human Brain Responses to Media

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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.

Research Strategy:

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.
Sources
Sources

Quotes
  • "Paper communications affect the desire centres of the brain. Paper advertising activates the ventral striatum area of the brain more than digital media. The ventral striatum is known to be an indicator of desire and valuation.[2]"
  • "Hard copy DM requires 21% less cognitive effort to process than digital media, suggesting that it’s easier to understand and more memorable. In a study by Canada Post, when participants were asked to name the brand of an advertisement they had just seen, recall was 70% higher among those who were exposed to a hard copy direct mail piece (75%) versus a digital ad (44%).[1]"
Quotes
  • "Overall our results provide preliminary data to suggest that television viewing for more than 3.5 hours per day is related to cognitive decline."
  • "Watching television for more than 3.5 hours per day is associated with a dose-response decline in verbal memory over the following six years, independent of confounding variables. "
  • "television viewing is associated with poorer cognition and an increased risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease6,7,8. "
  • ""Watching television for more than 3.5 hours per day was associated with poorer semantic fluency six years" "
Quotes
  • "The findings revealed that those who saw the sad movie were able to maintain the Roman chair roughly 18 percent longer than they had in their initial baseline test, compared with those who had watched the documentaries, where no differences were found. "
  • "This offers strong confirmation for the claim that (i) affect and pain threshold are unrelated and (ii) pain threshold influences IOS independently of affect. This suggests that watching a sad movie may harness the same endorphin system as comedies do."
Quotes
  • "What the researchers did not expect was that pain tolerance increased by 13.1%, while in those who saw the documentaries decreased by 4.6%. This means that those who saw sad movies were able to withstand 18% more intense pain than those who saw the documentaries."
  • "In fact, a previous study conducted by psychologists at Ohio State University that involved nearly 400 people, confirmed that after the initial impact caused by sad movies, most people feel much more happy and satisfied with their lives."
Quotes
  • "As a result, movies that exert more control over viewers’ perception have a greater impact on their brain activity. Unstructured videos like comedy shows, by contrast, elicit only 5 to 20 percent cortical synchronization among viewers."
  • "Researchers attribute these correlations to the fact that people watching the same movies experience the same stimuli."