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Tetris and PTSD

John Moe Nov 12, 2010

In a new study from Oxford University, test subjects were shown a film containing images of injuries and death.

A third of them were then sent off to play Tetris, a third played a trivia game, and a third did nothing but fester in their own trauma.

The Tetris group had remarkably fewer flashbacks. The study has elicited positive reactions from Tetris’s creator Alexey Pajitnov, as well as staff at Blue Planet Software — the company that manages the exclusive licensing rights to the game. David Kwock, the company’s general manager, says the researchers’ findings also support the feedback he’s heard from Tetris players over the years.

“A great number of our users tell us that they play Tetris to relax,” he says. “In fact, in Japan, they play it at the end of the day — women specifically — before they go to bed, or in the bathroom. That’s why we have waterproof [gaming devices] in Japan.”

It’s hoped that the research could help people dealing with post-traumatic stress disorder.

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