NeoBytes :) is an occasional feature that takes a step back from the big headlines, to take a look at what else is happening in the vast, scary expanse of the tech world - often with a cynical eye, always with a dose of humour.
We all have cravings, that's for sure. May they be of food, an urge to do something, and whatnot, these desires are part of us, whether beneficial or not.
Speaking of cravings, a study from Plymouth University and Queensland University of Technology in Australia has discovered that playing a game of Tetris (yes, the classic blocks game) reportedly helps reduce desires for cigarettes, food, and even sex.
To help come up with these findings, a couple of psychologist researchers asked a group of students, comprised of 31 undergraduates aged between 18 and 27 to take note whenever they had a craving, and how strong the feeling was. This was irregardless of what the sudden desire was. Half of the surveyed people were given an iPad, and were tasked to play a couple of rounds on a Tetris game, while the other half was left to do whatever they wished to do. The respondents then reported back 15 minutes later.
Regarding the study's results, the people who played Tetris on their iPad devices were found to have their cravings reduced by at least 20 percent, compared to those who didn't.
Giving a reason behind this discovery, the researchers believe that playing Tetris uses the same mental processes used when controlling or satisfying cravings. "This is the first demonstration that cognitive interference can be used outside the lab to reduce cravings for substances and activities other than eating," said Dr. Jackie Andrade from Plymouth University. She explains further:
We think the Tetris effect happens because craving involves imagining the experience of consuming a particular substance. Playing a visually interesting game like Tetris occupies the mental processes that support that imagery. It is hard to imagine something vividly and play Tetris at the same time.
Back in 2010, a relatively similar study was conducted, which concluded that playing Tetris can help reduce post-traumatic stress.