Life Extension Final Clerance Sale

Playing computer game 'helps beat cravings'

Western Morning News (England)


Playing the computer game Tetris for just three minutes can reduce the strength of cravings for food, cigarettes or alcohol, according to Westcountry researchers.

Psychologists at Plymouth University say the visual stimulation provided by the game could reduce naturally occurring cravings for long enough to ward them off. Researchers believe it could provide a quick fix for people struggling to diet, quit smoking or give up alcohol, providing an essential boost for willpower.

Tetris is a tile-matching puzzle game first released in 1984 which has gone on to sell more than 170 million copies. While versions of Tetris were sold for a range of 1980s home computer platforms, as well as the arcades, it was the successful handheld version for the GameBoy launched in 1989 that established it as one of the most popular ever.

The research was conducted by PhD student Jessica Skorka-Brown, alongside Professors Jackie Andrade and Jon May, from the university's Cognition Institute. Professor Andrade said: "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. 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."

The university study asked participants to detail if and what they were craving and to rate those cravings in terms of their strength, vividness and intrusiveness. One group of participants then played Tetris while a second sat in front of a screen, being told it was attempting to load, but ultimately not playing. After just three minutes, the individuals were again asked to rate their cravings with the people who played Tetris experiencing 24 per cent weaker cravings than those who waited unsuccessfully for the game to load.

The research tests elaborated intrusion (EI) theory - which dictates that imagery is central to craving, and therefore a visual task should decrease it - and shows that it applies to naturally occurring cravings. "Feeling in control is an important part of staying motivated, and playing Tetris can potentially help the individual to stay in control when cravings strike," said Professor Andrade.

"It is something a person can quickly access, for the most part whether they are at work or at home, and replaces the feeling of stress caused by the craving itself.

"Ultimately, we are constantly looking for ways to stimulate cravings for healthy activities - such as exercise - but this a neutral activity that we have shown can have a positive impact."

'Feeling in control is an important part of staying motivated' Professor Jackie Andrade

Articles featured in Life Extension Daily News are derived from a variety of news sources and are provided as a service by Life Extension. These articles, while of potential interest to readers of Life Extension Daily News, do not necessarily represent the opinions nor constitute the advice of Life Extension.

  • Consumer Alerts | Learn about issues that could impact your right to obtain the nutritional supplements and/or hormones such as DHEA that you depend on.

  • LEF Forum | Life Extension hosts Forums on Supplements, Hormones, Lifestyles, Disorders/Diseases, and other areas of interest to life extensionists worldwide.

  • What's Hot | News flashes are posted here frequently to keep you up-to-date with the latest advances in health care, nutritional supplements, and longevity.

  • Legislative Action Center | Take action on important current issues featured in Life Extension magazine and our web site.

  • Events | Find out about upcoming life extension related conferences, seminars, and meetings, or view reports on past events.

  • Life Extension Update | Our periodical newsletter reports new findings in longevity, preventive medicine and disease as soon as they are discovered!

  • Multimedia Center | An information-packed collection of video and audio featuring various health topics of importance to you.

Top 12 Steps For Achieving Ultimate Health