Do you think solving a crossword can take a toll on your mind?
While cracking the answers, is there a point where you feel you know the answer to the 3 down and 5 across.
But the words are just not fitting. When you move to another clue and the elusive answer is cracked, everything fits in place.
Slowly and steadily, you win the game and the money (if it offers cash rewards).
The processes leading to that flash of insight can illuminate many of the human mind’s curious characteristics.
Online crosswords puzzle games can reflect the nature of intuition, hint at the way you retrieve words from your memory, and reveal a surprising connection between puzzle-solving and our ability to recognize a human face.
How to begin solving daily crosswords?
What is more fascinating about a crossword is that it involves many aspects of cognition.
Memory search and problem-solving, all rolled into one ball. There is a mental process of crossword solving.
Do you know that most of your mental machinations take place precociously, with the results dropping into our conscious minds only after they have been decided elsewhere in the brain?
Intuition plays a big role in solving a crossword. Indeed, sometimes your pre-conscious mind may be so quick that it produces the goods instantly.
At other times, you might need to take a more methodical approach and consider possible solutions one by one, perhaps listing synonyms of a word in the clue.
Even if your list doesn’t seem to make much sense, it might reflect the way your pre-conscious mind is homing in on the solution.
While his volunteers attempted to work out the target, they were asked to give any other word that occurred to them in the meantime.
The words tended to be associated in meaning with the eventual answer, hinting that the preconscious mind solves a problem in steps.
Keep trying word search puzzles
Should your powers of deduction fail you, it may help to let your mind chew over the clue while your conscious attention is elsewhere.
Don’t lose hope even if you get stuck.
Back up our everyday experience that a period of incubation can lead you to the eventual “aha” moment.
Don’t switch off entirely, though. For verbal problems, a break from the clue seems to be more fruitful if you occupy yourself with another task, such as drawing a picture or reading.
So if 1 across has you flummoxed, you could leave it and take a nice bath, or better still read a novel. Or just move on to the next clue.
Pre-conscious processing is hidden from us, so it is not clear how the mind sifts through our mental lexicon to answer a clue.
Research supports this idea, showing that a three-letter syllable forms a more effective clue than three other consecutive letters.
So our mental dictionary is not just alphabetical, but also phonological.
In this case, it may help to say the clue or your guesses out loud.
Stay on the gut feeling
When playing games online, you might initially have a strong feeling about whether you know the answer or not – and these intimations are likely to be right.
Given a mixture of solvable and unsolvable word association tests, subjects tend to guess correctly which ones they will and won’t be able to answer. In crosswords, this “feeling of knowing” can be useful.
If you are pretty sure you know the answer, you sensibly spend more time trying to get it; if you are certain that you don’t, you move on and try to get intersecting words instead.
Psychologists make a fine distinction between this feeling of knowing and a sense of something being “on the tip of the tongue”.
The latter, a more irritating state is the feeling that an answer will come soon, rather than that it will come eventually.
It is often false, as the phantom of revelation fades away.
One theory is that a wrong word retrieved from our memory blocks the way for the right word.
Move from simple to challenging word finder games
Be careful with the more difficult puzzles – cryptic crosswords can warp the mind in surprising ways.
The subject is presented with a large alphabetical letter made up of repetitions of a smaller letter and is asked to read out the smaller letters while ignoring the larger one.
This seemingly innocuous preparation made them much worse at a face recognition test.
You have to be very careful with the more difficult puzzles – cryptic crosswords can warp the mind in surprising ways.
Nobody is likely to perform this obscure task before they are called to pick out someone in a line-up, so look at more common waiting room activities: puzzles, reading a book, literal crosswords, and cryptic crosswords.
The free word search puzzles would have the biggest effect; the crosswords were only there as controls.
But the subjects tackling the first three tasks all achieved roughly the same results in face recognition tests, whereas those wrestling with cryptic clues performed far worse.
That sense of Accomplishment
The speculations are that some form of suppression may play a role.
In the task, you must suppress the global picture, and in cryptic crosswords, it helps to suppress larger linguistic units and break up phrases to look for hidden wordplay and definitions.
As a side effect, that seems to suppress our ability to see a face as a whole unit.
The phenomenon goes beyond visual and verbal realms-it suggests there is some overlap in processing between all these tasks.
Free puzzle games online naturally probe connections between ideas and words, and psychologists could make more use of these puzzles when studying cognition.
The human mind is itself a fiendish puzzle, so perhaps it’s not surprising that they cast light on its workings.
Even if that light turns out to be oblique and elliptical.
Now, understood how to do crossword puzzles?
That’s it, you are all done! Now play games online and get paid.