HUFFINGTON POST

Playing 'Tetris' Can Change Your Brain. Here's How

04/30/2015 10:51 am ET | Updated Apr 30, 2015

All that time spent on your Game Boy might actually have been worth something.

A new video from BrainCraft, an educational show from PBS Digital studios, explains what "Tetris" does to your brain -- and a lot of it is good news.

According to the video, studies have shown that playing enough "Tetris" (think 1.5 hours a week for three months) can ...

• Make parts of your cerebral cortex thicker.

• Make other areas of your brain more efficient.

• Reduce flashbacks for people with post-traumatic stress disorder.

The smartest kid in the world. (Source)

Of course, this all comes with some caveats. The video explains that doing any task for three months could potentially change your brain structure.

What makes "Tetris" so addictive, the video explains, is that it "appeals to our natural desire to organize things, complete tasks and achieve goals." The game gives you a constant stream of "incomplete tasks" -- there's always a new block to consider and place in the game, which keeps your brain hooked.

Of course, no two people are the same, and "Tetris" impacts everyone differently. For more detail, watch the video above or on YouTube.

"Tetris" has long fascinated scientists. A 2009 study from the Mind Research Network examined the impact of the game on the human brain, and in 2000, researchers at Harvard Medical School found that it can change how people dream. Others have written about how the game can be habit-forming and change how we think about the world around us -- a notion that's now referred to as the "Tetris effect."

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