A group of psychologists from the University of Plymouth and Queensland University of Technology have found that playing Tetris game can weaken cravings for drugs, food, sex and sleeping by approximately one-fifth.
"The Tetris effect happens because craving involves imagining the experience of consuming a particular substance or indulging in a particular activity," said professor Jackie Andrade from Plymouth University. "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," Andrade added.
For the experiment, Australian Psychologists asked 31 undergraduates to report their cravings. And, 15 of them were asked to play Tetris and then record their craving level. With three minutes of Tetris block-stacking game play, the study subjects reported between 56-70 percent decline in the craving.
"The impact of Tetris on craving was consistent across the week and on all craving types. People played the game 40 times on average but the effect did not seem to wear off. This finding is potentially important because an intervention that worked solely because it was novel and unusual would have diminishing benefits over time as participants became familiar with it," said Professor Jon May from Plymouth University.
The study was published in the journal Addictive Behaviours.