Social media is overflowing with Wordle players boasting about their success in playing the addictive game that has taken the world by storm. However, does solving a five-letter puzzle on your first try mean you’re more intelligent than the next person?
According to researchers, Wordle is not a matter of higher intelligence but simply skill development. Penny Paxman, a psychology professor from the University of Calgary, makes a comparison with Scrabble or chess players, stating that they developed certain skills over time that help them play the game better. Still, these skills do not apply to any other activity.
People who thrive on puzzle games are referred to as having a “need for cognition” rather than being smart. Simply put, puzzles are something they do for fun, and it is not necessarily related to intelligence.
On the other hand, Wordle does engage several areas of the brain to complete the game successfully, so the abilities to manipulate visual information and maintain focus are dominant during play.
Although Wordle may be considered a brain-training exercise in the above sense, it can stop being a challenge once we discover strategies to win the game more easily. Consequently, brain centers for memory and focus that are no longer actively used start deteriorating.
Researches recommend switching to another activity that helps the mind stay sharp. This can go beyond word puzzles and involve physical activity. Take up dancing or invest in a musical instrument—the important thing is to keep learning every day.