The Wordle craze: Why do we love puzzles, and are they good for our brains?

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Scrabble experts made use of brain regions not typically associated with word meaning retrieval, but rather those associated with visual memory and perception.


(Penny Pexman/ The Conversation) — In recent weeks, a web-based word puzzle called Wordle has become a popular daily distraction. Suddenly, millions of people are focused on their vocabulary of five-letter words, and are newly aware of concepts like letter frequency and letter position as they strategize about the best opening words and faster solutions.

For these people, Wordle is captivating. Previous research can help us understand how our brains respond to word games, and why we love them.

Wordle is a single-player puzzle that combines elements of several games, including Scrabble and Battleship. My colleagues and I have studied Scrabble as a way of understanding how language is processed in the brain, and how that processing changes with experience. (…)

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