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Playing Tetris Can Block Cravings For Food And Drugs: Study

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People who spend at least three minutes playing Tetris on their smartphones have less cravings for food, drugs, sleep and sex, according to latest study by researchers in Australia and the United Kingdom.

A team of psychologists from the Queensland University of Technology and the Plymouth University studied the potential effects of playing the video game Tetris on the desires of people regarding food and other substances, such as coffee, alcohol and cigarettes. They also measured its impact on different activities of people.

In a study featured in the Addictive Behaviors journal, Plymouth researcher Jackie Andrade and her colleagues examined data collected from 31 undergraduate students, between 18 and 27 years old, who were asked to play the popular block-shifting puzzle video game throughout the course of seven days.

The researchers monitored the participants' craving levels by having them report through text messaging any cravings that they might be feeling during study. The undergraduates were also encouraged to proactively report their cravings without the need for the researchers' prompts.

Among the total number of participants, 15 of them were asked to play the mind-stimulating game on an iPod for about three minutes before having them report their cravings again.

Andrade and her team found that cravings were documented for about 30 percent of occasions throughout the course of the study, which mostly involved cravings for food and beverages that are non-alcoholic. These cravings were noted on almost two-thirds of documented occasions.

The findings also showed that cravings for substances considered as drugs, such as coffee, cigarettes and alcoholic drinks, amounted to about 21 percent, while cravings for activities, such as sexual intercourse, sleeping, playing games and interacting with friends, were recorded at 16 percent.

The researchers noted that the participants' cravings for food were often slightly lower compared to cravings concerning other categories.

Andrade's colleague at Plymouth, Professor Jon May said that the impact of the playing the video game Tetris on the participants' cravings remained consistent throughout the seven-day study as well as on different types of cravings.

May pointed out that the 31 undergraduates played the puzzle game on an average of 40 times during the experiment but the effect on their cravings did not appear to wear off.

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