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Tetris Therapy Heals Victims of Trauma

Written on November 12, 2010 by R. Cruise

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“...playing Tetris can reduce flashback-type memories without wiping out the ability to make sense of the event...” ---Emily Holmes, Oxford University research clinical psychologist

Did you know that can actually help of a victim of a traumatic event to recover fast? This was according to the research made by the scientists at the Oxford University in England.

Tetris is one of the oldest video games which still exist today. It involves moving and rotating shapes to fiill in the gaps on the blocks contained in the playing field.

Scientists found out that playing Tetris can gradually reduce flashbacks among people suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

How did the researchers conduct the study? They started by letting a group of people view a gruesome film. After the movie, 20 people are asked to play Tetris, another 20 play the game Pub Quiz, and another 20 do nothing. The volunteers are instructed to keep journals of their experiences throughout the process.

When the scientists read the diaries, they found out that Tetris significantly helped players to forget about bad memories while the game Pub Quiz encouraged it more.

Emily Holmes, a research clinical psychologist at Oxford University said, “Our latest findings suggest Tetris is still effective as long as it is played within a four-hour window after viewing a stressful film. Whilst playing Tetris can reduce flashback-type memories without wiping out the ability to make sense of the event, we have shown that not all computer games have this beneficial effect — some may even have a detrimental effect on how people deal with traumatic memories.”

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