Play competitive scrabble and become smarter

Last Updated: Aug 18, 2011, 17:39 PM IST

Washington: Playing competitive scrabble can make you smarter, a new study has suggested.

University of Calgary researchers tested competitive scrabble players to understand the extent to which the players relied on the meaning and physical orientation of words in order to understand them as a part of the English language system.

Their study shows, for the first time, that it is possible to develop visual word recognition ability in adulthood, beyond what researchers previously thought was achievable.

“The average literate adult relies on three components to process and read a word: sound, spelling and meaning,” says Penny Pexman, professor of Psychology.

“When we studied the Scrabble players, we found that there is significant flexibility in the tools they use to read words and that it can include the orientation of the word as well.”

The scrabble players in the study were able to recognize English words, compared to nonsense words 20 percent faster than non-Scrabble players.

Researchers say competitive players, who dedicate large amounts of time to studying the 180,000 words listed in The Official Tournament and Club Word List, processed words more quickly and were better able to recognize words oriented vertically.

“Scrabble players have honed their ability to recognize words such that they have actually changed the process of reading words,” says Ian Hargreaves, PhD Candidate in Psychology and lead researcher on the study.

ANI