Why “Enhanced Viewing Experience” is the wrong way to think about 3D.


In my opinion, there is something fundamentally wrong about the way “3D” is being characterized by those in the know. For the most part, the arguments by the proponents of 3D say it is the same as when sound or color were added to motion pictures. They like to talk about enhancing the viewing experience.

The reason why I believe this characterization is wrong is based upon the following:

One of the ways we know we are perceiving “reality” is that we are able to percieve what we are looking at as occupying physical space. That tells us it is real. Cavemen weren’t confused looking at drawings on a wall as to whether they were real or not. They understood the drawings were representative of something real. The same can be said of all imagery since those first drawings were made. Paintings, drawings, photographs and motion pictures have all been perceived as referential. We watch them knowing we need to interpret what they represent as compared to perceiving what we see as experiencing something real.

An exception to the above is when we see and perceive physical space at a Broadway show. But the context of the event makes it clear to our perceptions that we need to interpret what we are seeing as opposed to experiencing reality as it unfolds.

Technology is making it possible to blur the distinction between what we should perceive as referential imagery and what we should experience as reality. That is something new and different. It goes far beyond “enhancement”. That’s because we are monkeying around with human perception of reality and asking the brain to weave in and out of referential and real perceptions. For me, it is easy to understand why some people feel discomfort when they are presented with a stream of perception conflicts.

With the above in mind, it is my hope that an analysis of my images at CalTech will reveal brain processing pathways that are different for images with depth as compared to single perspective images. My hope is that fMRI imaging will show different parts of the brain lighting up for things presented in stereovision. And then to understand what that information means.

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