Most of us have probably played the very well-known block-stacking video game called Tetris. As implausible as it may seem researchers have now conducted a study which indicates that this simple came could help treating addiction.
Indeed previous studies have also revealed that Tetris is good for food cravings, but this was observed only inside a laboratory. Researchers at Queensland University of Technology and Plymouth University have proved that this applies not only in a controlled environment such as a laboratory, but also in natural settings. In addition not only did they prove that Tetris was good against food cravings, but it was also efficient against alcohol, coffee, smoking, sex and sleeping.
For the study researchers used 31 undergraduate students with ages between 18 and 27. They were divided in two groups: a control group and a group that was advised to play Tetris for three times when they felt craving of any kind. Each participant was given an iPod on which they had to play Tetris. Each participant was texted seven times each day in order to have their cravings checked. The students could also self-report the cravings that they had experienced.
Professor of psychology Dr. Jackie Andrade from Plymouth University declared:
We think the Tetris effect happens because craving involves imagining the experience of consuming a particular substance or indulging in a particular activity. Playing a visually interesting game like Tetris occupies the mental processes that support that imagery — it is hard to imagine something vividly and play Tetris at the same time.”
The findings of the research indicate that the control group reported cravings 30 percent of the time and they were usually cravings for food or non-alcoholic drinks. Other cravings such as alcoholic drinks (beer or wine), coffee and cigarettes were reported 21 percent of the time. The rest included cravings for other random activities such as socializing, sleeping, sex and playing video games. The Tetris group was reported to have a reduced intensity of cravings from 70 percent to 56 percent. In addition the effect of the game did not wear off.
Researchers are optimistic that a simple as Tetris could be used to manage addiction and cravings.
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