Russian Language Blog

Tetris: Not Just For Fun? Posted by on Aug 26, 2015 in Culture, Russian life

Which activity, if performed for three minutes, can reduce your cravings for sex, alcohol, drugs, food, and cigarettes? If you guessed playing Tetris, you’re correct! We’ve all heard about Tetris, many of us have played it, but few know much about it. Today’s post is all about Tetris and its potential benefits. Even if you aren’t one for playing games, you will be fascinated how this one can help change your life.

Те́трис or Tetris was invented by Russian programmer, Alexey Pajitnov. While working as an artificial intelligence researcher at the Soviet Academy of Sciences in Moscow, Alexey would write simple games in which he tested the capabilities of new hardware for his job. In June of 1984, he came up with Tetris.

The name Tetris was actually made by combining the Greek numerical prefix for the number four, which is tetra- and Alexey’s favorite sport, tennis. His profound invention has been made available for almost every video game console and electronic device created since 1984. Tetris also was also the first Soviet-produced entertainment software to be exported to the United States.

For those of you not familiar with the game, here is a short video that will demonstrate what the rest of the world has known for many years:

The power of Tetris cannot, nor should not, ever be underestimated. A recent study by a team of psychologists at Plymouth University and Queensland University of Technology did a study that proved just how beneficial this game can be. In all, 31 students play the game at home or wherever they happened to be on an iPod for as little as three minutes per day. Via text messaging, students would report on  levels of cravings seven times per day.  The study will be published in the Journal of Addictive Behaviors. Regarding the results, Jackie Andrade, a professor from the School of Psychology and the Cognition Institute at Plymouth University said:

“Playing Tetris decreased craving strength for drugs, food, and activities from 70% to 56%. This is the first demonstration that cognitive interference can be used outside the lab to reduce cravings for substances and activities other than eating. We think the Tetris effect happens because craving involves imagining the experience of consuming a particular substance or indulging in a particular activity. Playing a visually interesting game like Tetris occupies the mental processes that support that imagery; it is hard to imagine something vividly and play Tetris at the same time.”

For more information about the study, click here. It is not likely that playing Tetris is the best or only way to kick cravings for certain things people can be addicted to, but it could be used in combination with other techniques to further aid people. It should also be mentioned that playing the game is actually fun and I am not even a gamer.

Всего хорошего!

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About the Author: Jenya

Born in Russia, I spent the first twenty years of my life in Orenburg, Russia and Mogilev, Belarus. For the last eleven years, I've lived in New Hampshire and Michigan, US. While I continue to absorb and adapt to American culture, I am always thrilled to share my Russian heritage with those who find it interesting. Travel, photography and art play a special part in my life. Twitter: @iamnx2u