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Playing Tetris can ward off cravings, study says

By Natalie Crofts -- Modified: February 26, 2014 at 8:42 am •  Published: February 26, 2014

PLYMOUTH, England — Tetris may provide the key to successfully sticking to your new diet.

The classic game is already thought to possess the power to wipe out bad memories, but now researchers believe it can also help people stay on a diet or wean themselves off of cigarettes or alcohol. It only takes three minutes of playing Tetris to reduce cravings, according to a new study from Plymouth University.

“Episodes of craving normally only last a few minutes, during which time an individual is visualising what they want and the reward it will bring," professor Jackie Andrade said in a statement. "Often those feelings result in the person giving in and consuming the very thing they are trying to resist. But by playing Tetris, just in short bursts, you are preventing your brain creating those enticing images and without them the craving fades.”


Participants were asked to rate the strength of their cravings and then were split into two groups. Half of the people played Tetris, while the rest of the group sat in front of a blank screen. They were told the game was loading, but never got to play.

Three minutes later, the group that played Tetris reported their cravings were 24 percent weaker than the group that didn't get to play.

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