If you thought the Russian brick-stacking computer game Tetris was just a good way to kill a few hours, think again. Researchers from Oxford University say playing the game can help reduce the effects of traumatic stress.
In the researchers’ experiment, volunteers were exposed to a range of distressing images. Thirty minutes later, some were given Tetris to play. Those who played the game had few flashbacks to the distressing images, perhaps, the scientists say, because it helped disrupt the laying down of memories.
Researcher Emily Holmes told the BBC she hoped the research might produce a “viable approach” to post-traumatic stress disorder treatment.
“Tetris may work by competing for the brain’s resources for sensory information.
“We suggest it specifically interferes with the way sensory memories are laid down in the period after trauma and thus reduces the number of flashbacks that are experienced afterwards.”
If you’re feeling stressed (or maybe just looking for a bit of a distraction on a Friday afternoon) then head here to try your hand at a free game of Tetris.