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The Tetris Effect – Have You Been Infected Yet?

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By Paul N, Tech Editor

     There have been many iterations of the 1984 game Tetris that first appeared on the Nintendo GameBoy and the NES systems. While certainly addicting, Tetris can also have positive effects on a person’s brain. There has even been an effect on the human brain known as the Tetris effect. This occurs when the said person has spent a prolonged time playing Tetris, and after playing Tetris, the person will begin thinking how things in the real world fit together, like how the tetrominoes in the game fit together with each other to make lines.

     Anyone who has an online PhD knows that human-computer interaction is an important contribution to the learning process. A  study used an MRI to scan the brains of volunteers who played Tetris for 30 minutes each day. They later compared the images of those who played Tetris with those who had not played at all. The group found that the subjects who played Tetris had thicker gray matter, which led them to believe that the game can actually cause physical cognitive development, which could improve things like memory capacity.

      Just like anything electronic, a person’s brain needs fuel in order to function properly and work for hours on end. Sugars like glucose provide this fuel. The Tetris effect also theorizes that when a person starts to play Tetris their brain consumes a large amount of glucose in order for the player to solve the fast paced puzzles. These compose the games tetrominoes, which, depending on the game’s level, which are from 0-10, the game’s speed increases as the game progresses. For example, if the player is on level 1, the automatically dropping tetrominoes will drop very slowly. By comparison, in the game’s 10th level, the falling tetrominoes will drop to the bottom of the play area almost instantly, making the player use a lot of brainpower to try and solve the puzzles as fast as possible.

For an example of the occurrence of the Tetris effect in a place such as the supermarket –  in the soup aisle you look at the cans of soup and how they are stacked, and then you find yourself imagining the cans as tetronomios and how they fit in with each other just like the game Tetris. Weird isn’t it? Then you’ll be going all over the place trying new ways to fit things together, and pretty soon you won’t know what you’re doing anymore! You’ve been Tetro-infected – and that’s a good thing!

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The Tetris Effect – Have You Been Infected Yet?