‘Tetris Therapy’ Might Help Prevent PTSD, According To A New Study

Over the last decade, psychologists have been fascinated with Tetris, and not just as a way to goof off at work. Tetris can, it turns out, so completely distract the mind that it can shut down food cravings and treat vision problems. Now it seems that playing Tetris might be a therapy to prevent much stronger, nastier psychological problems.

Emily Holmes has been working on what she calls a “cognitive vaccine” for years. The theory is that by doing something that engages another part of your brain, and it appears only Tetris will do, painful flashbacks and other hallmarks of PTSD won’t form or be so intense. And recently Holmes tried it in the ER, with car crash victims, and got back some encouraging results.

71 participants were divided into groups, with half playing Tetris for twenty minutes after they arrived at the ER, and the other half abstaining. In the short term, the Tetris players had 62% fewer flashbacks to the event, although as time went on the two groups got closer together in quality of mental health. Whether that means Tetris can only help in the short term, or whether it needs to be an ongoing therapy, is a question that will need to be studied further. Either way, though, it’s an intriguing study that proves treatment of PTSD can start immediately, and that there might be something to the cognitive vaccine theory.

(via Ars Technica)