Tetris aids recovery from traumatic stress

The BBC is reporting the results of an odd experiment that suggests Tetris can help reduce the effects of traumatic stress. The test, conducted at Oxford University and published in the PLoS One Journal, took a group of 40 test subjects and exposed them to distressing images. 30 minutes later half the group were given Tetris to play whilst the rest did nothing. The results showed that those who played the game had fewer flashbacks – “the raw sensory images of trauma that are over-represented in the memories of those with Post-Traumatic Stress.”

The experiment is said to work on the theory that it is possible to modify the way in which the brain forms memories in the hours following an event. Dr. Emily Holmes of Oxford University claims that “Tetris may work by competing for the brain’s resources for sensory information.” She added, “We are not saying that people with PTSD should play Tetris but we do think it is hugely valuable to understand how the brain works and how it produces intrusive flashback memories.”

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