Tetris Could Actually Reduce Your Cravings For Food, Sleep, Wine and Sex

by Sean Levinson

One of the most legendary video games in history was revealed to curb addictions to caffeine, nicotine, alcohol, food and sex.

Psychologists at the UK's Plymouth University and Australia's Queensland University of Technology discovered playing Tetris for just a few minutes can reduce one's cravings for numerous potentially harmful substances and activities by roughly 20 percent.

At seven random points throughout the day, researchers instructed 31 undergraduate students, aged 18 to 27, to detail their cravings via text. These cravings involved coffee, cigarettes, wine, beer, sex, food and sleeping.

About half of the participants were instructed to play Tetris for three minutes on iPods after they reported to researchers. The group members then reported their cravings once again.

For those who played Tetris, cravings decreased from 70 percent to 56 percent and stayed this way for seven days.

Professor Jackie Andrade from the School of Psychology and the Cognition Institute at Plymouth University, said in a statement,

We think the Tetris effect happens because craving involves imagining the experience of consuming a particular substance or indulging in a particular activity. Playing a visually interesting game like Tetris occupies the mental processes that support that imagery; it is hard to imagine something vividly and play Tetris at the same time.

Since the game's visual aspect is thought to be most important in reducing cravings, other games like Candy Crush Saga may be able to serve the same purpose.

According to IFLScience, Tetris was previously found to combat symptoms of PTSD.

These findings were originally published in Addictive Behaviors.

Citations: New study reveals Tetris can block cravings (Plymouth University), Playing Tetris Could Reduce Cravings For Drugs Food and Sex (IFL Science)