Regular Tetris play 'improves the brain'

Three-month study of adolescent girls shows increased neurophysical, functional changes for group playing Tetris.

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Playing Tetris or indulging in similar video games can alter your brain’s structure and processes, according to research due to be published later this week. The research, which will appear in the open-access journal BMC Research Notes, was funded by Tetris licence-holder Blue Planet Software and was carried out at the MIND Research Network in Albuquerque, New Mexico, over a three-month period.

Using MRI scans, the researchers showed that the 15 girls, ranging in age from 12 to 15, who undertook Tetris practice over three months, registered significant increases in cortical thickness compared to the 11-person control group, as well as functional changes in other areas.

MRI scans showed significant changes in certain areas--the left superior frontal gyrus and the left anterior superior temporal gyrus (marked BA6 and BA22/38 respectively) in particular.

Those playing Tetris played for an average of 1.5 hours per week over the three-month period, playing the 40-lines variant of the puzzle classic. None of the girls in the test had significant exposure to Tetris before the study, nor had any reported a previous interest in video games. Those who played were found to have significantly increased cortical thickness values for two regions of the brain (the left superior frontal gyrus and the left anterior superior temporal gyrus), as well as changes in activity in the right hemisphere of the brain while playing Tetris when compared to those in the control group. No conclusive patterns were noted in these changes in the right hemisphere by the researchers, but this could, they said, be due to the limitations of the MRI scanning methodology used to detect brain activity.

The changes in the frontal areas of the brain were consistent with other studies of the effects of visual-spatial tasks, the researchers said. The researchers concluded in a prepublication version of the paper, "Whether practiced Tetris play and associated cortical changes generalize to performance changes in other cognitive domains (e.g. working memory, processing speed, spatial reasoning) is not yet determined." The paper also notes that Richard Haier, who co-authored the experiment with Rex Jung of the University of New Mexico's Neurosurgery Department, is employed as a consultant for Blue Planet Software but that the funders "had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript."

Discussion

29 comments
Chief_Kuuni
Chief_Kuuni

and everyone thought it was just a video game

wahyudil
wahyudil

its logical ... puzzle solving make you use your brain ... in long term it will make your brain grow

Joesocwork
Joesocwork

That settles it. I'm putting my daughter on a Tetris regiment right now! :P

rikhan_z
rikhan_z

OK, no more Halo 3, Gears of War 2, and GT5... It's Tetris for the rest of my life.

Decrate
Decrate

i want a study on minesweeper done i've been playing that game for a long time

honestbenjamin
honestbenjamin

I must have played tertis and dr mario 4-5 hours PER DAY for half my primary school years... did nothing special for me..

mp01juve
mp01juve

they going to introduce this into primary school curriculum?

Deano
Deano

I think 20 years of playing video games has made me dumber actually, not smarter

RadPie
RadPie

Good, I play a crap loud of Tetris.

pilouuuu2004
pilouuuu2004

@Waza19 lol, it's not me saying this, it's investigations. But it's just something I observe in normal life. More intelligent people tend to be gamers. But really, as in everything in life there's intelligent stuff and dumb stuff. I guess people that play adventures and strategy games should be smarter than those people who play those OMG awezom dumbed downz console FPS with lots of gore!

giddeon21
giddeon21

Hah, when they get smarter, they'd play something else... You gotta wonder why they test this on children.

Glade_Gnarr
Glade_Gnarr

@ pilouuuu2004 I gotta tell you I've seen my fair share of stupid gamers.

Waza19
Waza19

pilouuuu2004 ever heard about narcism

pilouuuu2004
pilouuuu2004

I noticed that I'm more intelligent than non players. But could it be that we play video games because we're intelligent and not that we're intelligent because we play videogames? Only a stupid being could not enjoy the fun videogames give. Conclusion: we're all more intelligent and have more fun than non players.

Xan4toX
Xan4toX

Donkey Kong improves my brain :D

ShadowXStorm
ShadowXStorm

Play Tennis or any other fast reaction sport and you get in shape and your brain gets faster :D Not dissing tetris though even I have lazy days.

cyborg100000
cyborg100000

Well christ, I'd be surprised if it didn't improve your brain in some way or another.

robfield
robfield

Anything that challenges your cognitive (and somewhat physical) reflexes like Tetris is bound to improve something in the brain

kavadias1981
kavadias1981

There are thousands of other activities that cause a similar reaction. This is clearly self promotion by Blue Planet software. It doesn't take 3 months of playing Tetris to recognise that fact.

Ardiendo_1
Ardiendo_1

Awesome I play Tetris sprint all the time on Facebook.

peacemakerbob
peacemakerbob

Nice preliminary study but as Caer_Death noted it is a small test group. Also it states it was funded by the company licensing Tetris. I would look forward to an independent study with 1000+ in each group lasting a year or more.

Caer_Death
Caer_Death

Small test group, but interesting study. There are a lot of Tetris studies out there. Nice to see one more.

QuatrixJ
QuatrixJ

Obviously noodles and richc haven't been playing much Tetris.

khindjal
khindjal

i've been saying it for years; games are good for you.