A new study found that the game prevents the brain from creating images that cause cravings.
Whether you’re craving a midnight snack or something to munch on while watching TV, the urge can be hard to manage. According to a recent study in the journal Appetite, playing Tetris may help reduce cravings by stopping the formation of visual images that create the craving in our minds.
“Episodes of craving normally only last a few minutes, during which time an individual is visualizing what they want and the reward it will bring,” study researcher Jackie Andrade said.
Playing Tetris, even in small amounts according to the study, aids in "preventing your brain [from] creating those enticing images and without them the craving fades."
During the study, researchers had participants explain each craving and rate each one based on their strength at a given time. Then, they were each assigned to a computer to begin playing the Tetris game. Some participants began playing the game right away, while others were told that the game was loading, but it never did.
Three minutes later, after playing the game or waiting for it to load, participants were required to explain the strength of their cravings. Those who spent time playing the game reported that their cravings were 24 percent weaker, compared to those who were never given the opportunity to play.
While the percentage may seem small, cravings are a big part of our daily lives. Just a few minutes of playing Tetris could decrease food cravings. Other studies have shown different benefits to playing the game, including decreased PTSD-related flashbacks and the ability to help adults with lazy eye.