Tetris blocks PTSD symptoms
Published: November 16, 2010
Forget everything your mother told you about video games rotting your brain. A follow-up study on the effects of Tetris re-enforces the findings of a 2009 study which found that fitting oddly-shaped blocks can help people suffering from PTSD symptoms.
Researchers with Oxford University devised three control groups for a set of healthy volunteers and had them watch tramatic film footage. One group played a trivia game called ‘Pub Quiz’, one did nothing, and the last played the classic puzzle game “Tetris.”
Participants who played “Tetris” reported severely reduced PTSD “flashbacks” for up to four hours after watching traumatic film footage, while the group that played the trivia game actually reported worsened PTSD symptoms.
While you’re unlikely to see a standard-issue Nintendo DS on the battlefield just yet, the Oxford researchers suggest that the mediating effects from playing “Tetris” are more powerful than what can be obtained with drugs or counseling at this point, and should be researched further.
“The insights arising from these two studies support the possibility that tasks such as Tetris (a simple visuospatial task) may be developed as a post-trauma intervention to reduce the flashback symptoms of PTSD, and administered up to 4 hours post-trauma,” the study said. “Such an approach would provide a novel alternative to drug treatment or counseling. Current clinical treatment reviews suggest that an existing counseling early intervention for trauma - “critical incident stress debriefing” - may worsen rather than improve PTSD symptoms, and that there are no drugs yet shown to be effective.”
No word on if it matters what version you’re playing. But please be sure to play one that allows pieces to be traded out, as waiting for those straight lines would frustrate even the gods.