Does solving crosswords make you smarter?

Crossword solvers and other puzzle games seem to show improvements in attention, reasoning and memory, especially in the short term.

Beach. Sun. Beach umbrella. And in addition to fins, rackets and buckets, the inevitable crossword puzzle. To relax and take care of the mind as well as the body. Because crosswords (and, more generally, all kinds of puzzle games) are commonly considered a relaxing and educational pastime. As well as, of course, completely free of side effects. Science has repeatedly questioned the real effects that this practice would have on the mind, investigating the relationship between the frequency of execution of puzzles and cognitive abilities, language skills and logical reasoning, levels of attention and concentration. Several studies, at the moment, have actually shown a certain correlation between this type of training and the improvement of particular brain skills, especially in the short term. Much more scarce, however, is the evidence relating to any long-term effects of puzzles and similar brain training.

One of the most extensive works on the subject is very recent news: a team of scientists from the University of Exeter, in fact, examined, through an online test, different brain skills of over 17 thousand people over the age of 50, asking them even if ( and how frequently) they devoted themselves to solving crosswords and puns. The results of the analysis, presented at the Alzheimer’s Association International Conference (Aiic), showed precisely that the participants who were particularly passionate about puzzles performed better in tests for the assessment of attention, reasoning and memory. So much so that the authors of the work argue, perhaps a little too optimistically, that “the brain functions of inveterate crossword solvers are equivalent to those of people who are ten years younger than them – at least compared to the speed of grammatical reasoning at all. ‘accuracy of short-term memory ”. In short, the puzzles would be equivalent to a sort of elixir of youth for the mind: “We found a direct relationship between the frequency of crossword execution and the speed and accuracy of performance in nine different cognitive tests. Now we want to understand if similar activities can also help in countering the onset of dementia: we know that many of the risk factors related to the development of dementia are preventable, and we want to understand which lifestyles can make a difference in helping people to keep their brains fit and healthy ”.

Furthermore, the authors of a small study published in 2014 in Geriatric Psychiatry, conducted on thirty-seven healthy retirees, divided the sample into two groups. The first performed crosswords every day for four weeks, while the second, control, was engaged in different activities: the results seem to suggest that people in the first group improved the so-called Phonemic Verbal Fluency (Pfc), an executive function related to ability to formulate simple strategies, which usually declines during aging and in people with dementia. And again: crossword puzzles and dementia, among other things, a team of scientists from the Department of Neurosciences at the University of California San Diego (and other research institutes) was also involved: in a study published in 2011 in the Journal of the International Neuropsychological Society, conducted for 18 months on 488 people who were cognitively healthy at the start of the follow-up and on 101 patients with various types of dementia, the researchers evaluated precisely the effect of performing crosswords on disease progression. “Our findings”, they write in the abstract of the work, “seem to show that participation in activities of this type, regardless of education level, is associated with a slowing of memory decline in those suffering from dementia. We therefore suggest to evaluate, in appropriate clinical trials, the role of crosswords in the prevention of cognitive decline ”.

But beware: to avoid exaggerated optimism, as we said at the beginning, it should be emphasized that scientific evidence on the long-term effects of this and other types of mental training is still scarce and not definitive. “What we know for sure”, explains Veronica Mazza, associate professor at the Center for Mind / Brain Sciences of the University of Trento, “is that training a certain brain function leads to improvements in that specific function. That is, unsurprisingly, that training in solving crosswords makes you better and faster at solving crosswords. On the long-term effects, however, we still know much less. And most importantly, we know little about how much any beneficial effects on a specific brain function can extend to other brain functions. Probably, to obtain these results, highly personalized training should be followed, designed for the individual ”. However, another thing is certain: “The only type of training that is certainly associated with cognitive improvements”, concludes Mazza, “is physical activity, mainly aerobic. The scientific evidence that demonstrates this is very solid and significant “. So, after trying your hand at horizontals and verticals, put down your pen and put on your sneakers. Your brain (and your body) will thank you.

What do puzzles do to your brain?

Mental rotation, working memory, episodic memory, processing speed, task switching. You don’t really that you are doing this but but it’s important to solve a puzzle.

Why do we found puzzles so satisfying?

Puzzles activate up to 8 different cognitive functions at the same time. It’s such a focus task that it can relax also your mind. It’s something like meditation, mindfulness training. In general people say they feel very relaxed after solving a puzzle and this relaxation is really important for psychological health.

Although some puzzles seem extremely simple, they set off a complex chain of events in our brains. The first thing which is happening when you see a puzzle is that the information gets into your eyes and goes through to the occipital cortex. From there are two pathways. One pathway goes into venture direction and the other one is called the dorsal pathway. They are processing different information. On the ventral pathway is processed the image of the puzzle and on the dorsal pathway you remember the information related to that puzzle section. And those information like “what” or “where” somehow the brain need to integrate this information to make use of it again. And this is like a really difficult task for the brain to integrate all of this information properly. And you need this integration to find the right solution of the puzzle.

Cognitively challenging activities like puzzles are also associated with long-term mental health benefits, such as a lower risk of Alzheimer’s or dementia.

There are many leisure activities with which you can target brain function. It’s important to do many different leisure activities and not just doing one again and again. If you think about training the brain, it’s most important to have variations tasks. Puzzling is just one task next to other tasks. It might be probably better than watching television, because watching television is very inactive.

WordBrain Daily February 25 2021 Answers

WordBrain Daily Challenge February 25 2021 Solutions for all grid sizes. If you are a beginner player and haven’t completed many levels you will most likely be met with a small grid such as 3×3 or 4×4 grid. The more you progress in the game the more complex and bigger the grids get, so your daily challenge can be as big as 7×7 or 8×8 and the answers get more complex. All the solutions of Daily Challenges are displayed according to their appearance on the grid. We grouped all answers by their grid size.
WordBrain Daily Challenge February 25 2021 Answers by Size:

3X3 Grid Answers

ADMISSION

4X4 Grid Answers

US
MATE
APPEARANCE

5X5 Grid Answers

STEP
PET
DRAG
DADDY
HIGHLIGHT

6X6 Grid Answers

UNLIKE
BEER
DANGER
IRISH
SPOON
INDUSTRIAL

7X7 Grid Answers

CRITIC
LAPEL
BRAIN
CINEMA
REGULAR
COLONY
NOWHERE
REQUEST

8X8 Grid Answers

LADDER
DRIVER
EXTERNAL
INDUSTRY
GRAMMAR
FOREVER
BECOME
EMPLOYEE
OFFENDER

For more WordBrain Daily Solutions visit the answers page.

WordBrain Daily February 24 2021 Answers

WordBrain Daily Challenge February 24 2021 Solutions for all grid sizes. If you are a beginner player and haven’t completed many levels you will most likely be met with a small grid such as 3×3 or 4×4 grid. The more you progress in the game the more complex and bigger the grids get, so your daily challenge can be as big as 7×7 or 8×8 and the answers get more complex. All the solutions of Daily Challenges are displayed according to their appearance on the grid. We grouped all answers by their grid size.
WordBrain Daily Challenge February 24 2021 Answers by Size:

3X3 Grid Answers

FORMATION

4X4 Grid Answers

ME
BOLT
EXHIBITION

5X5 Grid Answers

AHEAD
SIX
HEN
MARK
INSTRUCTOR

6X6 Grid Answers

DRILL
DOOR
TIMING
FLAT
WANT
DUKE
WONDERFUL

7X7 Grid Answers

SPANISH
HUMAN
PAINTER
STUDIO
EQUALLY
CABBAGE
POLITICIAN

8X8 Grid Answers

KITCHEN
WELCOME
LETTER
OVERBITE
STRONG
CATHOLIC
BARBELL
AROUND
DIVERSITY

For more WordBrain Daily Solutions visit the answers page.

WordBrain Daily February 23 2021 Answers

WordBrain Daily Challenge February 23 2021 Solutions for all grid sizes. If you are a beginner player and haven’t completed many levels you will most likely be met with a small grid such as 3×3 or 4×4 grid. The more you progress in the game the more complex and bigger the grids get, so your daily challenge can be as big as 7×7 or 8×8 and the answers get more complex. All the solutions of Daily Challenges are displayed according to their appearance on the grid. We grouped all answers by their grid size.
WordBrain Daily Challenge February 23 2021 Answers by Size:

3X3 Grid Answers

EVOLUTION

4X4 Grid Answers

MAKE
CONSERVATIVE

5X5 Grid Answers

TIP
WORRY
WORLD
HEADQUARTERS

6X6 Grid Answers

BEAUTY
DEFEAT
SWEET
BLOW
DATE
IMMEDIATELY

7X7 Grid Answers

REJECT
PHONE
SELLER
LEGAL
EPISODE
TENNIS
PUPIL
STRATEGIC

8X8 Grid Answers

MIRROR
SATISFY
SILENT
ACADEMIC
MORNING
DEVICE
REQUEST
LIVING
RESTRICTION

For more WordBrain Daily Solutions visit the answers page.

WordBrain Daily February 22 2021 Answers

WordBrain Daily Challenge February 22 2021 Solutions for all grid sizes. If you are a beginner player and haven’t completed many levels you will most likely be met with a small grid such as 3×3 or 4×4 grid. The more you progress in the game the more complex and bigger the grids get, so your daily challenge can be as big as 7×7 or 8×8 and the answers get more complex. All the solutions of Daily Challenges are displayed according to their appearance on the grid. We grouped all answers by their grid size.
WordBrain Daily Challenge February 22 2021 Answers by Size:

3X3 Grid Answers

LIFESTYLE

4X4 Grid Answers

US
CAST
REPUBLICAN

5X5 Grid Answers

BAKE
CARRY
ICE
FILL
CRITICISM

6X6 Grid Answers

SUIT
MINOR
ELECT
PLUM
FAVOR
SPOT
FREQUENCY

7X7 Grid Answers

VOLCANO
SURFACE
USEFUL
TRAIN
SWEEP
FATHER
OCCUR
DIVISION

8X8 Grid Answers

EVERYONE
APPENDIX
CONFLICT
DOMINATE
FREQUENT
HANDFUL
COLLEGE
SCIENTIFIC

For more WordBrain Daily Solutions visit the answers page.