A new study carried out by Plymouth University researchers suggests that playing Tetris can reduce a person’s cravings.
The study was published in Appetite and it’s focus involved testing Elaborated Intrusion (EI) Theory, which states that visuals imagery heavily affects the cravings a person has, whether it be for food, caffeine, cigarettes or whatever else might cause a person to have cravings. This was the first test though studied cravings that occurred naturally, rather than inducing them.
119 people participated in the study, and when they first came in they were asked if they were craving something and to give it a rating out of 1 to 100. The filled out Craving Experience Questionnaire, which looked at the “strength, imagery, vividness, and intrusiveness of their current craving.”
After filling out the questionnaire, the participants then had to sit down in front of a computer, which then either brought Tetris up or just had a loading screen. The next three minutes were then spent playing the game or watching the loading screen. Afterwards they answered the questions again.
80 people in the group said they had a craving coming in, 58 of which wanted food or a beverage, 12 were craving nicotine, 10 wanted caffeine, and their craving rating was pretty high. After the three minutes they found that playing Tetris had reduced their respective cravings by roughly 24 percent.
According to the study, “Tetris reduced the vividness and frequency of craving imagery, as well as craving intensity.” While the cravings didn’t go away entirely, 24 percent is still something, and take it from someone who has quit smoking and had to deal with the cravings: something to help is way better than nothing.