Neuroscientists from Aalto University in Finland conducted a study on psychosis, and it turns out Tim Burton proved very useful in their efforts. The researchers looked to the director’s visual aesthetics in his 2010 incarnation of ‘Alice in Wonderland’ to help identify early signs of the condition.
Psychosis is a brain condition in which a person cannot distinguish between what is real and what isn’t. Two groups of people were used in the study—those who have had a psychotic episode and those who haven’t. Both groups watched the Tim Burton flick while computer imagery was taken of the participants’ precuneus, an area of the brain that scientists say contribute to formulating a sense of self, recalling memories, shifting attention and other processes.
In ‘Alice in Wonderland,’ viewers are required to have awareness that Alice falls down a rabbit hole and enters a fantasy world. The story, mixed with the surreal imagery we all know and love from Tim Burton movies, served as a stimulus as the neuroscientists examined the brain functions of the participants.
Using this experiment, the neuroscientists created an algorithm to predict the early stages of psychosis. Incredibly enough, the algorithm was able to predict signs of psychosis with 80 percent accuracy. This is pretty huge in the world of neuroscience that could potentially improve the lives of people who may develop psychosis at some point in their lives.
This study shows how important movies can be beyond entertainment. This is quite true. However, this experiment also shows the enduring impact of ‘Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland.’ We’ve seen its influence in the arts and philosophy almost to the point where it’s become a tad cliché. However, with research like this, it indicates that Lewis Carroll’s 1865 classic continues to serve as an inspiration in a variety of ways.
Source: Van Winkle’s