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Researchers have found that playing Tetris may help block cravings for food, drugs, sex, and more.
One of the most well-known games of all time, with its impressive record of 100 million paid mobile downloads since 2005 as well as being the most copied game on various platforms; and still manages to entertain and lure people since its inception 25 years ago.
It has managed to come into the spotlight once again as it could now be used to cure your cravings. Psychologists at the University of Plymouth University and Queensland University of Technology, Australia, used a rather unique method to conduct this study, instead of it being done in a lab by monitoring participants whilst they played Tetris.
The study was published in the international journal Addictive Behaviour; the results concluded that playing Tetris with its nuance’s interfered with desires for food, drugs, cigarettes, alcohol, and even sex.
The study took place over seven days as researchers realised that playing the game actually helped people manage their cravings so much so that they are thinking about testing their theory out on people who are dependent on drugs.
“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,” says Professor Jacki Andrade.
Surprisingly playing Tetris decreased the strength of a person’s craving for food, drugs and various activities by 70%; this study was the first of its kind outside of the lab that showed a reduction in cravings outside of food.
As Tetris is a visually interesting game that accesses the mental processes which support imagery, it makes it difficult to think of or imagine something else whilst playing Tetris at the same time.
31 undergrad students partook in this study between the ages of 18-27 and were reminded seven times a day to record any cravings via text; with 15 students being required to play Tetris for three minutes before reporting their craving levels once again.
The most common cravings were food and non-alcoholic beverages which made up two-thirds of the report, 21 percent reported that they were craving coffee, alcohol or cigarettes whilst varied activities like playing video games or sex made up of 16 percent of the reported cravings.
According to Medical Daily “The impact of Tetris on craving was consistent across the week and on all craving types. People played the game 40 times on average, but the effect did not seem to wear off.”
Sources: Medical Daily, Addictive Behaviours