United Kingdom – A new study discovered that playing Tetris can help people decreased an addiction up to 70 – 56%, calming their minds and making the whole process less difficult and stressful in only 3 minutes. The puzzle game can take up all the mental capability, leaving no space for cravings, the research was published in the Addictive Behaviors journal.
Psychologists from the Queensland University of Technology and the Plymouth University monitored 32 undergraduate students, between 18 and 27 years old for levels of craving and prompted to play the video game for a whole week. The results show it can help in managing their cravings. The study was applied in everyday environments, so the participants were exposed to their daily life and not lock in a Laboratory. They were also encouraged to report their cravings proactively.
Based on the results, 3 minutes playing Tetris was enough to make people distracted and focused mainly on the game. Participants were indicated via text message to record and report their cravings seven times a day. At the beginning the research was seeking for effects over food cravings, but psychologists later found out that it also reduces cravings like smoking, coffee, alcohol, sex, sleeping disorders and drugs.
Food and non-alcoholic drinks cravings were the most common as 66% of the group reported. 21% of the cravings were for drugs, cigarettes, wine, beer, coffee among others. 16% were for activities such as sleeping, sex, video games and congregation.
“This is the first demonstration that cognitive interference can be used outside the lab to reduce cravings for substances and activities other than eating. 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.” Jackie Andrade, professor from the School of Psychology and the Cognition Institute at Plymouth University.
The researchers will follow their study, testing people who are dependent on drugs and observing their reaction.
Source: The Journal Addictive Behaviors.