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How Tetris could help tackle trauma

Researchers at Oxford University say their study shows Tetris could help combat symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder.

Image: sweet_redbird via Creative Commons

SCIENTISTS AT OXFORD UNIVERSITY claim to have discovered a novel way of helping to reduce flashbacks experienced by trauma victims.

The researchers have developed a study which shows that the repetitive – and hugely popular – game Tetris helps prevent flashbacks.

The computer game was developed in the Soviet Union in the early 1980s.

Emily Holmes, the study’s lead researcher said the game’s focus on images helps to reduce flashbacks.

She told ABC News she believed Tetris works because the imagery competes with the visual memory which would otherwise produce a visual flashback.

The Oxford-based study involved showing a range of traumatic video clips to 60 healthy volunteers, then asking one-third of the group to play Tetris, another third to play Pub Quiz Machine 2008 and another third to do nothing.

Those who played Tetris experienced fewer flashbacks. LiveScience reports that the results were similar even when the participants were asked to wait for four hours before playing the games.

Holmes says the study helps show why games like Tetris could help tackle the symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder.

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