A study published in the journal Psychological Science says that Tetris may be effective against traumatic memories. It is not easy for patients who suffer from PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) to overcome the memories of their traumatic experiences. They need to undergo a long process which includes lifestyle changes, medication and therapy. It seems that playing Tetris is also a simple an unexpected method which can help you take your mind off painful memories.
Researchers from the University of Oxford, University of Cambridge and Karolinska Instituted have conducted the survey on 56 participants with ages between 18 and 21. They were asked to watch a traumatic film which contained eleven scenes of death and lasted for twelve minutes. Some of the scenes in the movie represented for example a man drowning in the sea, a young girl hit by a car who had blood dripping out of her ear after the incident and a man hit by a van.
After watching this video the participants were required to keep a diary over the following week in which they were supposed to mention how often they experienced upsetting memories. It seems that the memories were recalled actively by the participants, but rather came to their mind as flashbacks.
The following day after they watched the movie half of the participants watched stills from the same movie in order to reactivate the traumatic memories. This activity was followed by a ten-minute task in which they had to rate classical music. At the end they played Tetris for twelve minutes. This was the reactivation plus Tetris group. The control group did not undergo memory-reactivation tasks and did not play Tetris.
After seven days all the participants were required to fill in a survey and a memory test which checked how much they remembered from the movie. The scientists discovered that participants who played Tetris had the number of memories about the film reduced by 51 percent. They also answered questions used for diagnosing PTSD and obtained a low score.
According to the researchers the upsetting memories were virtually eradicated when the participant played Tetris. The game requires the brain to process visual information quickly and this disturbs the traumatic images. Thus the events are blurred.
Psychologist Jaine Darwin said that the study is interesting, but it does not prove that this method can be applied to people who have actually experienced real trauma.
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