While a recent study has shown that MDMA could prove effective in treating post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), a new study has found that playing Tetris might also be an effective treatment method.
Groups of participants at the University of Cambridge, the University of Oxford and the Karolinska Institutet were shown a 12 minute film featuring graphic violence and depictions of death. Throughout a seven day period, they were ordered to record the number of intrusive memories they suffered.
The day after they were first shown the film, the participants were divided into an experimental group and a control group. The experimental group was shown 11 film stills, given a filler exercise where they rated classical music before playing Tetris for 12 minutes. The control group was not shown the film stills or play the game. They did rate the classical music with the experimental group.
At the end of the week, both groups were asked to record what they recalled from the film. As a result, the experimental group that played Tetris reported 51 percent fewer intrusive memories than the control group.
The researchers believe the game’s high level of visual processing created a cognitive blockade which made the visual part of memory weaker, the Daily Mail reported.
While the results do show that the amount of flashbacks decreased, the researchers admitted that a real life situation could be different because experiencing a traumatic event firsthand is different from watching it on a television screen, according to ABC News.
That is where Jaine Darwin, a psychologist who specializes in crisis intervention, finds a flaw with the research. She told ABC News that the study was “interesting” but it needs to be tried with patients that have experienced an incident firsthand before it can become an official treatment.
If you watch a horror movie, you can get scared for days, (…) [But] you lack the smell or tactile association.
Using video games to treat medical disorders is nothing new as, Ubisoft partnered with Amblyotech and McGill University to develop a game that could treat lazy eye patients.
So what do you think about Tetris helping PTSD patients?