Do 3D movies make us clumsy? reports that 3D can make movies more exciting, but some viewers report eye strain and visual fatigue, and a number of 3D-capable televisions warn consumers of motion sickness, disorientation, or “decreased postural stability.” Could these impairments impact drivers headed home from the cinema?

To find out, researchers asked 433 volunteers between 4 and 82 years of age to complete an obstacle course and other coordination tests—in which a volunteer must navigate a loop along a wire without touching it—before and after watching Pixar’s Toy Story in either 3D or 2D on TV.

Despite the large sample size, the scientists were unable to detect any significant detriment in the coordination of the group watching in 3D, they report online yesterday in Royal Society Open Science. Though some participants did report eye strain or dizziness, data from the accelerometers they wore did not show any significant difference between their performance and that of participants who reported no adverse effects.

The researchers conclude that any dizziness or faintness the volunteers reported may simply have been because they expected to feel dizzy or faint (given what they may have heard about the side effects of 3D). Still, the team acknowledges that its study is limited to one film, one set of tests, and one group of participants.

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