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Tetris useful as a PTSD treatment

Tetris useful as a PTSD treatment

Tetris is one of the most successful and popular games ever, with a legacy that endures even today.

According to a new study released by the University of Oxford simple videogames like Tetris can be used as an effective treatment for PTSD, or Post-traumatic Stress Disorders.

The latest study from Oxford's department of psychiatry began by taking a group of individuals and exposing them to a twelve minute clip of extremely violent and disturbing images, presumably with their consent. The experimenters then gave individuals a 30 minute break (this is post-traumatic stress after all) and then split the subjects/victims into two groups. While one group was told to sit in silence, the second group was allowed to play gameboy classic Tetris for ten minutes.

According to The Guardian researchers found that those who had played Tetris had significantly fewer flashbacks to the events over the following days, according to diaries kept by the participants.

From this result researchers are inferring that Tetris could be used as a 'cognitive vaccine' in cases where PTSD is a likely outcome after an event; see something scary and play Tetris to avoid having nightmares.

The findings themselves correlate well with existing theories that visual distractions in the period following stress are an excellent way to treat repeating mental traumas.

All we can say is that, like the writers for The Guardian, we're glad we didn't take part in the tests. The images used were apparently quite graphics and resulted in "serious and immediate mood deterioration for all participants".

And no, playing Grand Theft Auto IV after a stressful event probably wouldn't have the same effect. Pass on your thoughts in the forums.

8 Comments

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proxess 8th January 2009, 10:42 Quote
Hey I've got a screenshot like that! Only difference was that I was on level 4.
1ad7 8th January 2009, 10:52 Quote
.... the comment above describes bit tech completely

You rock!
Yemerich 8th January 2009, 11:48 Quote
So, if you play GTA, Condemned you need to play Tetris after?
UrbanMarine 8th January 2009, 13:12 Quote
Sex helps
Arkanrais 8th January 2009, 16:06 Quote
...but games did nothing to stop the horrors of 2 girls 1 cup from flooding back into my sickened mind.
sotu1 8th January 2009, 20:22 Quote
lol...one group sits in silence to ponder their tragic war memories the other is distracted by a video game....i'm sorry, but no **** sherlock!
supaste 8th January 2009, 20:26 Quote
Yeah it's quite simple - if you are doing something else you are not thinking about what you just saw. I'm sure watching a cartoon on tv would have a simular effect, maybe not as much though becase you don't have to concentrate that much to watch tv.
salesman 9th January 2009, 00:09 Quote
I think they need to do a little more research then one study before they decide "that Tetris could be used as a 'cognitive vaccine'". I mean come on it's a little early as far as science is concerned to come to that conclusion; however, I don't doubt it has an effect and the next time I look at something graphic I'll probably try it. Explore it more people.
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