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Playing Tetris may reduce cravings for food and drugs

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A new study finds that playing Tetris for just three minutes can weaken cravings for food and drugs.

Psychologists from Plymouth University and Queensland University of Technology, Australia, found that playing Tetris also interfered with other desires including smoking, alcohol, coffee, sex and sleeping.

"We think the Tetris effect happens because craving involves imagining the experience of consuming a particular substance or indulging in a particular activity," said Dr. Jackie Andrade, a professor of psychology at Plymouth University, in a news release. "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."

Study participants were required to play the block game for a few minutes. They were then required to report any cravings or disgust with food or drugs. As a result, playing Tetris decreased craving strength for drugs, food, and activities from 70 percent to 56 percent.

The study is published in Addictive Behaviors.