A team of scientists from the U.K has conducted a new study in which patients were asked to play Tetris in order to help diminish traumatic memories. The new study was conducted by researchers from the University of Oxford, University of Cambridge and Karolinska Institute in Sweden. The scientists studied subjects who were exposed to video footage of traumatic events that happened in real life, including fatal accidents. The researchers then had some of the subjects play Tetris as a way of helping them clear their mind of the traumatic images they had seen.
The purpose of the experiment was to help the subject by diminishing the traumatic memories, the researchers stated. According to them, traumatic memories often include flashbacks that can paralyze someone and cannot be controlled.
In the study, the participants who played Tetris about 24 hours after they saw the disturbing footage were less likely to experience “intrusive” traumatizing memories in the following days. According to the experts, playing Tetris helped reconfigure the subjects’ visual memory, and the reason for this is because the brain focused on both the memory of the traumatic footage and the visual game.
The researchers wrote in their study that involuntary memories have been a fascinating subject for a very long time.
The results of the new study were published in the journal Psychological Science.
The authors of the study explained that the research was somehow limited mostly because seeing traumatic events on TV is not the same as actually experiencing. However, the scientists hope that in the future they will be able to study people who had experienced traumatic events in their life.
Jaine Darwin, a psychologists from Massachusetts specialized in crisis intervention and trauma, who did not take part in the experiment, said that although the new study has some interesting aspects, she is skeptical about its efficiency on people who have survived actual traumatic events. She added that when someone watches a horror film, that person can remember it for days and still get scared, but it lacks the tactile and smell association of a real traumatic event.
Psychologists say that in cases when people don’t want to see disturbing images on TV or on the computer, they should just simply turn it off. But in real life, things are much complicated than that.
Darwin said the new study offers some interesting hypothesis but it needs further research before it can be applicable for people who have suffered psychological trauma.
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