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The neuroscience of sport and entertainment

From a world record attempt to an insider’s view of the science behind 3D technology, a series of events are piquing curiosity for Brain Awareness Week.

Organised by the Institute of Neuroscience at Newcastle University the programme is based around the theme of the neuroscience of sport and entertainment.

Before a sell-out screening of the 3D film Hugo, viewers will be hearing about an insider’s view of the science behind 3D technology with Dr Jenny Read. Her talk will cover a brief history of 3D from its surprisingly early photographic based origins to the advanced technology that we witness in movie theatres today.

Jenny will explore the concept of 3D; primarily how it works and the impact it can have on human observers.

Jenny said: "Lots of people have been enjoying the new 3D technology which has brought us films like 'Avatar', 3D soccer in pubs and even 3D smartphones. But others are sceptical and wonder whether 3D is really here to stay or if it's just another fad.

“In my talk, I'm aiming to discuss the challenges, both technical and artistic, faced by people working in this new medium, and run through 3D's history, present and possible future."

There'll be examples to look out for during the movie and audiences will be encouraged to take part in their own 'visual experimentation'; such as closing one eye and head tilting which will alter their movie-viewing experience. Post-film Jenny will be on hand for questions and answers and will discuss the science behind this collective viewing experience.

With "Sport on the Brain", Year 9 pupils have been working with the team of postgraduate ambassadors for a workshop at Framwellgate School, Durham. What exactly happens when footballers take a free kick? How does a sprinter synchronise their body and mind? Our ambassadors have been working with pupils helping them to understand what goes on inside our heads when we compete and the neuroscience behind athleticism.

They’ll also be helping them to prepare for an ambitious world record attempt for the most number of people patting their heads and rubbing their stomachs. Focusing on coordination, the team of ambassadors will show pupils why some people find this task very easy and some find this very hard!

The Institute of Neuroscience Ambassadors programme is one of the outstanding projects granted the London 2012 Inspire mark, which recognises exceptional and innovative projects inspired by the 2012 Games.

Exploring the relationship between colour and competition, Dr Russell Hill will be delivering a lecture in the David Shaw Lecture Theatre at 5pm on Thursday 15th March. He will be examining why across a wide array of sporting and competitive contests wearing red appears to be associated with an increased probability of winning.

Access the full programme.

published on: 14 March 2012