Does Tetris Decrease Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder Flashbacks
How ironic that the original rapid-fire visual puzzle Tetris originated in Russia around 1985 was never patented, because at the time intellectual property rights were not established in then communist Russia for private individuals.
We all know what happened next with Tetris popularity wise, but what you may not know is that a new study out of Oxford University says that playing Tetris a few hours after trauma exposure can help prevent flashbacks, which are typically a symptom of post-traumatic stress disorder.
PTSD is caused by a psychologically traumatic event involving actual or threatened death or serious injury to oneself or others. Such triggering events are called ‘stressors’; they may be experienced alone or while in a large group.
According to the study, which appears in the journal PLoS ONE, playing Tetris soon after a traumatic experience appears to protect against these flashbacks, by distracting the brain from the event and short-circuiting how upsetting memories and images are stored.
How do they know?
Sixty participants watched a film containing scenes of injury and death. After a 30-minute structured break, 20 participants played Tetris, while another 20 played quiz video game Pub Quiz. The remaining subjects did nothing. Those who played Tetris had fewer flashbacks of the traumatic film than any of the others did. Incidentally, those who played Pub Quiz had the most flashbacks out of any of the groups.
As it turns out, a great number of people play Tetris to relax,” he says. In fact, in Japan, they play it at the end of the day — women specifically — before they go to bed, or in the bathroom.
For all the men and woman in the service doing their jobs so we can live the way we do, CHEERS!
If you don’t already have the game, you can play it free here.
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