Can Tetris cut back depth and misery of traumatic intrusive reminiscences?


The expertise of intrusions is frequent within the aftermath of a traumatic expertise. Intrusions are flashbacks of the trauma and are repetitive, distressing and involuntary in nature. They’re usually accountable for the persistence of PTSD symptomology (Bryant et al., 2017).

In gentle of those findings, researchers have focussed on stopping the incidence of intrusions. Cognitive interventions that contain taxing visuospatial duties have been established to be efficacious in decreasing the frequency of intrusions (Holmes et al., 2009). It’s argued that visuospatial duties compete for restricted working reminiscence assets, that are required to consolidate sensory-based trauma reminiscences thereby leading to fewer intrusions (Deeprose et al., 2012).

Nevertheless, analysis on the efficacy of visuospatial duties for minimising the depth and misery of intrusions is restricted. Thus, the authors investigated whether or not both of two visuospatial duties, Tetris and Digital Corsi activity, decreased the depth or misery of intrusions following publicity to trauma.

Could playing Tetris help to reduce the intensity and distress of intrusions following a traumatic experience?

May enjoying Tetris assist to scale back the depth and misery of intrusions following a traumatic expertise?


The research employed the Trauma Movie Paradigm as analogue trauma to elicit intrusions. 100 and ten English-speaking individuals over the age of 18 years had been recruited from the neighborhood. They first accomplished self-report measures, pre-film temper scores and a few medical measures. Subsequent, all of the individuals practised each Tetris and Digital Corsi. Tetris is a pc recreation that requires gamers to rotate blocks of various shapes and colors as they descend as a way to type horizontal traces, which disappear and earn gamers extra factors. In Digital Corsi, gamers observe a sequence of 9 blocks that gentle up in a selected sequence, after which must click on on the bins within the order through which they lit as much as produce the identical sequence.

Following these duties, individuals considered the trauma movie for 10.5 minutes, and offered post-film temper scores and movie consideration scores. They then left the lab, and returned 4 hours later. Scores for frequency, depth and misery of intrusions skilled throughout the break had been obtained from the individuals upon their return. Individuals then considered static visible photos from the trauma movie as a reminder cue. At this level, they had been randomly assigned to certainly one of three experimental circumstances: Tetris (n = 35), Digital Corsi (n = 36) or Management situation through which individuals sat in silence (n = 36), the place they engaged within the respective activity for 12 minutes. Following this, individuals accomplished measures for intrusion frequency and activity enjoyment. Lastly, individuals had been requested to finish a guidelines to verify their understanding that they must monitor the depth and misery of intrusions over the next week utilizing a cellphone app.

Primarily based on the statistics utilized in earlier research (James et al., 2016), the facility evaluation revealed that 26 individuals had been required in every of the three experimental circumstances to realize 80% energy as a way to detect a big between-group impact on the 5% significance degree. The authors oversampled to permit for attrition and smaller than anticipated impact sizes.


The evaluation included knowledge of 107 individuals. There was a big enhance in unfavourable feelings for all of the individuals after watching the trauma movie. No variations had been present in consideration scores, temper scores, self-report measures, VAS scores and diary accuracy throughout the three teams.

There have been no between-group variations within the imply depth and misery scores for intrusions skilled throughout the week after watching the trauma movie. Furthermore, depth and misery scores had been extremely correlated. Lastly, linear combined fashions indicated that neither of the visuospatial duties resulted in a big lower within the depth or misery of intrusions over the course of the week.

Playing Tetris did not significantly reduce intensity or distress of intrusions after watching a traumatic film.

Taking part in Tetris or Digital Corsi did not considerably cut back depth or misery of intrusions after watching a traumatic movie.


Whereas visuospatial duties are efficacious in decreasing the frequency of intrusions, they might not have the identical impact on depth and misery. This discovering highlights the restricted advantages of utilizing visuospatial duties within the context of intrusions, such that whereas they might lower the incidence of intrusions, people should expertise misery after they do happen, and on the similar depth.

Whilst visuospatial tasks like Tetris may decrease the occurrence of intrusions, individuals may still experience distress when they do occur. 

While visuospatial duties like Tetris could lower the incidence of intrusions, people should expertise misery after they do happen.

Strengths and limitations

The outcomes of this research are dependable as there have been extra individuals in every experimental situation than had been required to detect a big between-group impact as revealed by the facility evaluation. Nevertheless, the findings ought to solely be interpreted within the context of reminiscence consolidation because the research didn’t concentrate on reminiscence reconsolidation processes. Reminiscence consolidation refers back to the stabilisation of newly acquired, labile reminiscences, whereas reminiscence reconsolidation describes restabilisation of beforehand consolidated reminiscences by retrieving (or reactivating) them. For the reason that authors investigated the efficacy of visuospatial duties for brand new reminiscences, their outcomes won’t be the identical for reminiscences which can be already stabilised.

Whereas the authors defined the theoretical frameworks underpinning the research properly, and described related research in a concise method, they didn’t critique the literature when it comes to its strengths and limitations. They might have additionally mentioned the alternate explanations for why some visuospatial duties don’t affect the depth and misery of intrusions, and outlined the theoretical implications of their findings in higher element.

There are considerations whether or not it’s moral to make use of aversive movie materials to look at trauma-related psychopathology as it could, if solely briefly, trigger misery to individuals. So long as researchers implement safeguards beforehand akin to explaining the character of such research to individuals, and excluding these with psychological well being issues, the Trauma Movie paradigm offers an ethically applicable method to research each publicity and reactions to psychological trauma.

It has additionally been instructed that distressing movies used on this paradigm usually are not enough to elicit a traumatic response related to what’s skilled after publicity to trauma in actual life. Nonetheless, research have demonstrated that digital media publicity is ready to induce acute stress signs, and due to this fact, can function an inexpensive trauma analogue (Holman, Garfin & Silver, 2014). Moreover, the Trauma Movie paradigm permits consistency of the analogue trauma throughout all individuals, and ensures that vital between-group variations usually are not as a result of variable traits of trauma publicity. In relation to this research, the Trauma Movie paradigm was utilized appropriately when it comes to the sequence of occasions and the devices included to realize the specified consequence of initiating and disrupting reminiscence consolidation processes for trauma.

The research used an digital diary software by means of which individuals recorded intrusions on their cellphone. This methodology helps to beat the shortcomings of the pen-and-paper diary methodology, the place the chance that every one the entries are made on sooner or later can’t be discounted. The digital diary software additionally will increase the ecological validity of the findings as individuals are capable of document intrusions immediately of their pure setting (Kleim et al., 2013). Nevertheless, a possible limitation of the novel diary process is that the notification despatched to individuals to make an entry may doubtlessly set off intrusions when in any other case individuals would have skilled none. To regulate for this, the authors may have requested the individuals to elaborate on the second they acquired the notification, and perceive if the reminder brought about intrusions.

Is it ethical to expose participants to traumatic films for the purposes of research? 

Is it moral to show individuals to traumatic movies for the needs of analysis?

Implications for apply

This research means that visuospatial duties, like Tetris and Digital Corsi, might not be applicable to scale back the misery and depth of intrusions, though they’re a identified intervention for lowering their frequency.

Future research may use visuospatial duties with survivors of trauma to verify in the event that they solely affect frequency, and never the depth and misery of intrusions from a medical standpoint. There is also investigations into the options of visuospatial duties identified to scale back depth and misery (e.g., eye-movement duties), and the way they differ from these of Tetris and Digital Corsi, to know why some duties are efficacious whereas others usually are not.

Broadly, these findings can inform medical translation with respect to the mixing of such duties with speak remedy to finest assist people who’ve been uncovered to trauma.

More research is needed into visuospatial tasks to determine why they may not be effective in reducing distress and intensity of intrusions. 

Extra analysis is required into visuospatial duties to find out why they might not be efficient in decreasing misery and depth of intrusions.

Assertion of pursuits



Major paper

Badawi, A., Metal, Z., & Berle, D. (2022). Visuospatial Working Reminiscence Duties Could Not Cut back the Depth or Misery of Intrusive Recollections. Frontiers in Psychiatry, 32. doi: 10.3389/fpsyt.2022.769957

Different references

Bryant RA, Creamer M, O’Donnell M, Forbes D, McFarlane AC, Silove D, et al. Acute and persistent posttraumatic stress signs within the emergence of posttraumatic stress dysfunction. JAMA Psychiatry. (2017) 74:135–42. doi: 10.1001/jamapsychiatry.2016.3470

Deeprose C, Zhang S, DeJong H, Dalgleish T, Holmes EA. Imagery within the aftermath of viewing a traumatic movie: utilizing cognitive duties to modulate the event of involuntary reminiscence. J Behav Ther Exp Psychiatry. (2012) 43:758–64. doi: 10.1016/j.jbtep.2011.10.008

Holman, E. A., Garfin, D. R., & Silver, R. C. (2014). Media’s function in broadcasting acute stress following the Boston Marathon bombings. Proceedings of the Nationwide Academy of Sciences, 111(1), 93-98.

Holmes EA, James EL, Coode-Bate T, Deeprose C. Can enjoying the pc recreation “Tetris” cut back the build-up of flashbacks for trauma? A proposal from cognitive science. PloS ONE. (2009) 4:e4153–e4153. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0004153

James, E. L., Lau-Zhu, A., Tickle, H., Horsch, A., & Holmes, E. A. (2016). Taking part in the pc recreation Tetris previous to viewing traumatic movie materials and subsequent intrusive reminiscences: inspecting proactive interference. Journal of Habits Remedy and Experimental Psychiatry, 53, 25-33.

Kleim B, Graham B, Bryant RA, Ehlers A. Capturing intrusive re-experiencing in trauma survivors’ each day lives utilizing ecological momentary evaluation. J Irregular Psychol. (2013) 122:998–1009. doi: 10.1037/a0034957

Lilley SA, Andrade J, Turpin G, Sabin-Farrell R, Holmes EA. Visuospatial working reminiscence interference with recollections of trauma. Br J Clin Psychol. (2009) 48:309–21. doi: 10.1348/014466508X3 98943

Swick D, Ashley V. The specificity of inhibitory management deficits in post-traumatic stress dysfunction: a dissociation between the pace and reliability of stopping. J Anxiousness Disorr. (2020) 75:102278. doi: 10.1016/ j.janxdis.2020.102278

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