A new study shows that playing just three minutes of Tetris can significantly reduce cravings for snacks, cigarettes, and a host of other nasty habits.
Quitting your addictions has never been so fun. Recent research suggests that playing the classic arcade game Tetris may be effective at easing cravings for food and drugs by almost 20 percent. According to a UPI report, a study carried out in natural settings, not in a lab, has confirmed that the game is helpful reducing cravings to a large degree.
Previous studies in a lab setting had confirmed that Tetris was good at mitigating cravings for snacks, but the new study also reveals that the game works for reducing cravings for cigarettes, alcohol, coffee, sleep, and sex.
According to Dr. Jackie Andrade, a professor of psychology at Plymouth University, “We think the Tetris effect happens because craving involves imagining the experience of consuming a particular substance or indulging in a particular activity.” Andrade added that playing Tetris occupies the regions of the brain that support visual imagery, distracting the imagination from cravings.
The study analyzed 31 undergraduate students aged 18 to 27. Each participant received an iPod with Tetris loaded onto it and was given instructions to text any reports of cravings back to the researchers at least 7 times a day.
Half of the sample group was instructed to play Tetris for 3 minutes whenever they felt a craving and then to report back to the researchers. The other half was a control group, and were not instructed to play Tetris.
Food and soft drinks accounted for two-thirds of the cravings reported. Cravings for cigarettes, coffee, or alcohol were reported 21 percent of the time, and the rest of peoples’ cravings were for activities like sex, sleeping, socializing, or playing more Tetris.
The study provides promising results for treating cravings across a diverse range of people. Tetris is simple and engaging, and could prove useful in the ongoing struggle to treat addictions.