It’s been a while since Wordle took over the world and had us all invested in word games once more. Some users have moved on to other games, while others still make a point of solving the daily puzzle on a work break. Apps and games like online Scrabble offer alternative ways to solve puzzles and have a mental workout. Then there is the trusted classic crossword in the newspaper.
Many of us engage in these games, hoping to improve our intelligence. We want to become smarter and sharper, potentially even lowering our brain age and preventing cognitive health issues. So can word games improve intelligence? If so, how much of an impact can this regular activity have on our brains?
Word Games For Memory And Problem-Solving.
One of the biggest links between word games and intelligence is the chance to improve our memories. A strong working memory is a good indicator of intelligence and overall cognitive health. The more we use it and train our brains, the better it becomes. Regular word games help by encouraging us to tap into our brain database and find solutions. With Wordle, we’re scrolling through think of 5-letter words that start with a specific letter but don’t contain a certain vowel. With crosswords, it could be the name attached to a description of a person, animal, or general definition.
Then there is the chance to improve problem-solving skills. A lot of word-based games rely on solving a problem. With Wordle, it is all about determining the right pattern of letters based on the limited information given. Those that want a bigger challenge can turn to crosswords and decipher more complex clues. This requires a strong knowledge base of both trivia and general facts. Beyond that, there are cryptic crosswords where you really have to break down double meanings in clues and look at problems from new angles. There is something for everyone, and players can test their skills as they get older and more confident.
Word Games For Vocabulary And Bilingualism.
Another benefit of word games on intelligence is the chance to broaden our vocabulary. This works at any age. Children can use word puzzles to match words to images and build knowledge. As we get older, these puzzles can become more complex in style to help us improve further. If we can’t find a suitable work in our brain database, we soon learn a synonym through the puzzle and add that to our vocabulary. The trick to improving intelligence and vocabulary over time is to challenge ourselves with harder levels.
This idea of vocabulary and improved cognitive skills also brings up the link between intelligence and bilingualism. There is the assumption that bilingual people are naturally smarter because they can understand so much more and switch between languages as needed. This certainly requires a higher level of executive function than those that are monolingual. This is why it is so helpful to learn a second language, even if you don’t become fluent. The process opens up new pathways and gets the brain functioning on a deeper level. Children can work on this from an early age with fun games, but there is also the option of apps like Duolingo for adults.
Word Games For Cognitive Health And Confidence.
The potential of word games goes beyond building these cognitive skills and gaining intelligence. Some studies show their potential for dealing with certain cognitive and brain health issues. Many researchers highlight the link between word games and preventing cognitive decline in old age. In 2019 study into word games showed that adults over 50 playing word games performed better on tests of memory, reasoning, and attention. Regular play can bring a brain age down by a decade. This is highly significant for slowing the onset of conditions such as dementia.
Then there is the potential for helping people with dyslexia. Many visual word games encourage us to separate words into pieces and rearrange them by syllable or letter. This is a great tool for improving spelling in a way where you can fully visualize the word. Regular practice could help those with dyslexia build new pathways and build confidence. It is about making language and spelling fun again and easing anxiety over recognition and reading.
Is It Better To Play Word Game Apps Or Stick With Physical Games?
The rise of Wordle has shown that word-based brainteasers don’t just have to be in the form of old-fashioned crosswords. Anyone can go online, play around with the daily challenge, and boost their cognitive abilities. Furthermore, there are studies that support the use of video games for brain health. Those that engage regularly can show higher visual selection attention and approve their attention span over time. So, there are benefits to playing with word-game apps on a tablet for a short period every day.
Of course, this isn’t going to suit everyone, and older generations may still find comfort in sitting down with a physical crossword. This can have additional benefits for maintaining cognitive skills like fine motor skills as they write the answers in the boxes. Physical games can also promote social intelligence when playing against other people. Debates over spelling and the authenticity of words over a Scrabble board can only heighten our vocabulary and problem-solving skills. You don’t get that with the online version.
Can Word Games Improve Intelligence?
Regular use of word games, whether as apps or physical crosswords, has the potential to improve cognitive function, brain health, and overall intelligence. We can learn more about language and the world as we broaden our vocabulary, improve our problem-solving skills, and boost our memory. Beyond that, there is the chance to reduce the risk of dementia, ease dyslexia, and generally feel more confident in our intelligence.
Also, remember that it doesn’t have to be a daily game of Wordle if this doesn’t appeal to you. Find a style of puzzle or app you can get behind, consider a language-learning app, and have fun with it. You might be surprised at the results.