Find the latest episode of "The Uncertain Hour" here. Listen
Codebreaker

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.

Marketplace is on a mission.

We believe Main Street matters as much as Wall Street, economic news is made relevant and real through human stories, and a touch of humor helps enliven topics you might typically find…well, dull.

Through the signature style that only Marketplace can deliver, we’re on a mission to raise the economic intelligence of the country—but we don’t do it alone. We count on listeners and readers like you to keep this public service free and accessible to all. Will you become a partner in our mission today?

Your donation is critical to the future of public service journalism. Support our work today – for as little as $5 – and help us keep making people smarter.