Wednesday, 29 December 2010

Tetris reduces visual flashbacks of gruesome scenes

I know that watching gruesome movies hasn't got anything to do with baking gluten free food.  However, as Tolerant Taster does heroically try biscuits, cakes, pies and other baked goods, sometimes several in a day and always with patience and precise commentary, it doesn't seem unreasonable that I should accompany him to the movies he sees for his Film Group.  As a result of that I have seen more miserable or  unpleasant movies in the last couple of months than I would normally see in a decade.  I did walk out of a couple.  At home I switch the TV off or, if unable to do that, put my fingers in my ears and close my eyes at unpleasant moments.

A study found that if you do a visually challenging task soon after seeing unpleasant images it seems to disrupt the laying down of the visual memories that are the basis of flashbacks.  The original article is available at

So, next time, I should watch the whole movie but come home and play a computer game before I go to bed.  I haven't played Tetris since it was the one thing the BBC computer would do, back in the day when a file couldn't be more than four pages long, which made writing my first Masters thesis hard, floppy discs really were floppy, colour printing hadn't been invented, and printer paper came with perforated edges for the sprockets.

I don't know if this can be extended, but if I should happen to make a particularly unpleasant food and compel TT to try it, I should follow this up with something delicious soon after.  Not only would that cleanse any residual flavour and texture from the palate but it would disrupt the taste memory being established that could in the long term develop into a generalised fearfulness when new foods approach.

1 comment:

  1. I came across your article when I googled "flashbacks +gluten". The reason for my google was that on Wednesday my husband suffered terrible flashbacks from a traumatic event that occurred six or seven years ago. Wednesday was also the middle (and severest) day of a 3 day reaction to some gluten he had accidentally ingested. Thus, I am beginning to wonder if gluten itself doesn't actually cause flashbacks! BTW, I never watch violent movies at night, only in the morning, otherwise I get insomnia from flashbacks. I will try out the Tetris idea and see if it works. Of course, the extension to this theory could be that people who play extensive visual games may have problems forming any memories, visual or otherwise. Most interesting!


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