Nearly all of us enjoy a good joke now and again, but those who do cryptic crosswords seem particularly attracted to verbal humour. In the first of a series unpacking the psychology behind cryptic crossword solving, Kathryn Friedlander explores the many links between puns, verbal ambiguity, misdirection and the solving of cryptic crossword clues.
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When it comes to thinking about cryptic crossword solvers, what kind of image springs to mind? Maybe Chief Inspector Morse, a vicar, or a bowler-hatted Civil Servant? But would you be right…? Kathryn Friedlander shares new research lifting the lid on the mind of the cryptic solver – and finds that they are an academically able group, tending towards science, with fantastically flexible problem-solving abilities.
Philip Fine tells us about a newly published eBook looking at novel ways of researching creativity.
Though creativity has many definitions, it essentially describes behaviours which lead to novel and meaningful products and outcomes. We can observe creativity in all domains of human behaviour, thought and experience, including creative cognition and problem-solving (divergent thinking and insight), artistic performance (music, dance) and creative design and production (art, design, fashion).
We’re excited to announce that we are offering a new MSc by Research in the Psychology of Creativity and Performance Expertise, here at the University of Buckingham, with entry dates in September and January each year. This MSc is ideal for those with a first degree in Psychology who wish to take their knowledge further in this exciting field. Students can be full- or part-time.
Kathryn Friedlander reviews David Astle’s fascinating guide to cryptic crosswords. Should we all consider taking up cryptic crossword solving, as the book suggests, to ‘improve our memory and boost the power and agility of our brain’?
Kathryn Friedlander explores the ‘kick’ we get from cracking a really good cryptic crossword clue.
A number of stories in the press earlier this year reported work carried out in Vienna and London on solving puzzles in a brain scanner. The study suggested that solving a clue to a puzzle can trigger a highly rewarding ‘Aha!’ (or ‘Eureka!’) insight moment, which releases dopamine into the brain. This is the reward chemical associated with daily activities such as eating, winning money … and having sex. This led to headlines promising that cryptic crosswords were ‘better than sex’… but what’s the reality behind the hype?