Researchers have discovered that a simple game as Tetris might prove to be quite an efficient tool which can help you deal with cravings of all sorts including food, alcohol, cigarettes and even sex. The study published in the journal Addictive Behaviors was led by researchers from Plymouth University.
The research involved 31 participants. They were undergraduate students with ages between 18 and 27. The participants were split in two different groups: a control group and a group of 15 participants who were given iPods on which to play Tetris. All of the participants were required to report their cravings. The researchers made sure that they did this by texting them seven times a day. The participants in the Tetris group were asked to play the game for three minutes every time they felt like craving a certain activity or a certain substance. They were also required to rate the intensity of the cravings before and after they played Tetris on a scale from zero to 100.
The findings of the study indicate that those participants who played Tetris for at least three minutes experienced fewer cravings when it came to food, cigarettes, sleep, sex and drugs. Overall the craving levels were 14 percent lower in the Tetris group.
In addition, according to John May from Plymouth University, the effect of the game did not wear off even though the participants played it 40 times on average. He also added that this detail is very important because a tool which would have worked only because it brought something new would have diminished the results as the participants would have gotten used to it.
The researchers involved in the study also wrote:
This study extends laboratory findings to real-world settings and cravings for drugs or activities as well as food. This is the first demonstration that visual cognitive interference can be used in the field to reduce cravings for substances and activities other than eating.”
It is believed that what makes Tetris work as a support tool in managing cravings or even addictions is the fact that it is visually stimulating and this interferes with imagery in the brain that is related to cravings.
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