Have you ever thought that a simple video game can hold anybody back from food and drugs? It looks like you might as well start believing it, because a new study indicates that Tetris can weaken your cravings for unhealthy vices or for fat-threatening diets.
This was not a secret until now: previous research has already shown that Tetris reduced cravings in a lab, but most studies only took food into account. However, Plymouth University and Queensland University of Technology scientists discovered that Tetris could also reduce sleeping, alcohol, coffee, smoking and sex cravings as well.
Dr, Jackie Andrade, a psychology professor within Plymouth University, explains why Tetris is such a crave-holder. She stated that scientists know that cravings involve the cognitive process known as imagination. Through imagination, the individual envisions himself indulged in some sort of pleasuring activity.
Tetris, however, requires a great deal of concentration which keeps cognitive processes busy, imagination included. Thus, it is quite hard to imagine yourself pleasured in any way and play a game that requires as much focus as Tetris does. The brain cannot do them both at the same time, so it will focus on the task that is more challenging and needs immediate attention.
The experiment was conducted with 31 undergraduate volunteers, aged in between 18 and 27 years old. The students were given iPods with Tetris on them and prompted messages 7 times per day asking them to state the cravings they had. The participants were also asked to write down self-report cravings that they experienced every day.
The number of students was divided into two groups: one group was asked to play Tetris for 3 minutes whenever they had cravings and the second group was maintained as a control group, having received no instructions of what to do when they felt cravings.
Here is a complete breakdown of the cravings: Around 21 percent of the cravings were deemed as drug cravings: beer, wine, cigarettes and coffee. An approximate of 60 percent of the cravings were related to food and non-alcoholic drinks and the rest of the cravings were other activities such as sleeping, playing video games and sex.
Scientists reported that the group that played Tetris after having reported a craving showed a reduced craving intensity from 70 percent to 56 percent.
So it seems that Tetris is crave-killer, but this is the only game that has been tested so far. Who knows what other games might involve the same level of concentration and reduce cravings as much, or more than, Tetris? It is simply a question of further research.
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