Effect of Tetris on the Brain

According to research from Dr. Richard Haier, et al. prolonged Tetris activity can also lead to more efficient brain activity during play. When first playing Tetris, brain function and activity increases, along with greater cerebral energy consumption, measured by glucose metabolic rate. As Tetris players become more proficient, their brains show a reduced consumption of glucose, indicating more efficient brain activity for this task. Even moderate playing of Tetris (half-an-hour a day for three months) boosts general cognitive functions such as "critical thinking, reasoning, language and processing" and increases cerebral cortex thickness

In January 2009, an Oxford University research group headed by Dr. Emily Holmes reported in PLoS ONE that for healthy volunteers, playing Tetris soon after viewing traumatic material in the laboratory reduced the number of flashbacks to those scenes in the following week. They believe that the computer game may disrupt the memories that are retained of the sights and sounds witnessed at the time, and which are later re-experienced through involuntary, distressing flashbacks of that moment. The group hopes to develop this approach further as a potential intervention to reduce the flashbacks experienced in posttraumatic stress disorder, but emphasized that these are only preliminary results.

The game has been noted to cause the brain to involuntarily picture tetris combinations even when the player is not playing (the Tetris effect), although this can occur with any computer game or situation showcasing repeated images or scenarios, such as a jigsaw puzzle.