A recent study from the researchers have found that playing Tetris for as little as three minutes could help reduce cravings. A group of psychologists from the University of Plymouth and Queensland University of Technology were looking into intervention techniques as a way to help stave off the itch for drugs, like cigarettes, alcohol, and coffee, and even some activities, such as sexual intercourse and sleeping.
The study group was woefully small — only 31 undergraduates, aged 18 to 27, participated in the research. Over the course of seven days the researchers had the participants report their cravings via text, but had only 15 of the participants play a game ofTetris on their phone and report their craving levels again.
They found that playing a bit of Tetris did indeed cut cravings by one-fifth, or from 70 percent to 56 percent. Professor Jackie Andrade, from the School of Psychology and the Cognition Institute at Plymouth University, explained why in a press release, suggesting that “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 Tetrisoccupies the mental processes that support that imagery; it is hard to imagine something vividly and play Tetris at the same time.”
Over the seven-day experiment, participants played the game 40 times on average and the impact of playing Tetris didn’t seem to wane — it remained as a consistent craving blocker, never losing its potency over the week and helping alleviate all craving types.
More research is required on more serious patients to see if Tetriscould be used as a serious intervention method. Who knows, it could even help cases of Candy Crush addiction, substituting one game for another. But Tetris never caused someone to play so much it ruptured a tendon in a man’s thumb (that we know of).