Tetris helps reduce post-traumatic stress

If only they'd had Game Boys in the trenches.

The BBC is reporting on a bizarre experiment at Oxford University which suggests that playing Tetris can help reduce the effects of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.

Volunteers in the experiment were shown upsetting images - and then some of them were given Tetris to play half an hour later.

According to the PLoS One journal, the researchers found that Tetris players had fewer flashbacks, and theorised that playing the game disrupted the formation of memories. Or maybe all they could see was falling blocks.

"We wanted to find a way to dampen down flashbacks - the raw sensory images of trauma that are over-represented in the memories of those with PTSD," said Dr Emily Holmes.

"Tetris may work by competing for the brain's resources for sensory information."

Professor David Alexander from the Aberdeen Centre for Trauma Research begged to differ.

"It is ethically impossible to simulate an event which is so catastrophic as the type of incident which can lead to post-traumatic stress disorder," he said, noting that post-traumatic stress is usually only detected weeks after an event, not half an hour afterwards.

Sometimes we include links to online retail stores. If you click on one and make a purchase we may receive a small commission. Read our policy.

Jump to comments (14)

About the author

Oli Welsh

Oli Welsh

Editor-in-chief  |  oliwelsh

Oli is the editor of Eurogamer.net and likes to take things one word at a time. His friends call him The European, but that's just a coincidence. He's still playing Diablo 3.


You may also enjoy...

Comments (14)

Comments for this article are now closed. Thanks for taking part!

Hide low-scoring comments

Buy things with globes on them

And other lovely Eurogamer merch in our official store!

Eurogamer Merch