As odd as it may sound, a recent study found that victims of traumatic events that played Tetris following the trauma were less likely to develop PTSD and suffer flashbacks of the event.
Many of you may be familiar with the popular computer game, which requires players to guide various shapes into stacks with the goal of preventing any empty gaps. The study found that the game drew on ‘visuospatial’ resources – the same resources involved in visual flashback of traumatic events – and if played after a traumatic event, Tetris competes for these limited resources, preventing them from being used to develop future flashbacks.
“Our data is the first indication that the manipulation of visuospatial processing in the consolidation phase of recently activated trauma memories can serve to modulate future intrusive, involuntary flashbacks (despite leaving voluntary memory intact). “Tetris” participants experience fewer intrusions even while playing the game, supporting the competition for resources rationale.” – Emily A. Holmes, Ella L. James, Thomas Coode-Bate, and Catherine Deeprose of the University of Oxford
One suggested reason for the proven effectiveness of EMDR is related to a similar manipulation of visuospatial processing through the use of eye movements during treatment. Researchers suggest that EMDR and the Tetris prevention method are effective for the same reason — they distract the visuospatial resources of the brain — an interesting conclusion which may lead to important discoveries surrounding the exact reasons EMDR works the way that it does. For more information on the study, please click here.
What do you think of this study and their association between this new prevention concept and EMDR?