It’s a common experience – you have a blank grid in front of you, 1A isn’t helping, and there’s no obvious way to get going. Maybe you, too, scan the list of clues hoping for an anagram clue or two? In the third part of our ‘explainer’ series, Kathryn Friedlander takes a look at the psychology behind this popular clue form.
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In this second part of a series unpacking the psychology behind cryptic crossword solving, Kathryn Friedlander explores the connection between cryptic clues and the ‘rebus’ or ‘word-picture’ puzzle form.
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.
Please do give us feedback about our research afterwards by taking the brief survey linked to at the foot of the page.
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).
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?
Gill Hill explains why investigating creative problem solving is sometimes – quite literally – child’s play.
People might be surprised to hear that the games they played as children can help scientists to explain how people think. For example, researchers have recently used rock, paper scissors as a model for decision making. Furthermore, chess is seen as a pursuit for ‘thinkers’ around the world, and we have consequently seen lots of research exploring psychological processes whilst people play.
It’s a month now since the Canterbury conference ended, but we are all still benefiting from the fresh perspectives it has brought to our understanding of creativity. With a huge range of topics featured in talks and posters, this was a truly interdisciplinary and international conference. Continue reading →