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.
Please do give us feedback about our research afterwards by taking this brief survey: we’d really appreciate your help to establish what the impact of our research has been.
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.
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.
Are you a keen quizzer? We’re looking for participants in a survey exploring the motivations and expertise development of those who take part in quizzing at any level. Could you help? Link is here: Quiz survey
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.
The challenge was set by MK Innovates to provide exciting and interactive activities that engage young people – and especially girls – from Milton Keynes and the surrounding area with science. As always, the CREATE team were keen to get in on the act and we’ve identified some core aspects of our research to showcase at the event.
Soapbox Science may be just the platform you need to launch your academic career. Gill Hill looks back over her personal successes of the past year, since her appearance at Milton Keynes, and urges all female scientists to take the plunge.
About this time last year I noticed an announcement on the University of Buckingham‘s round-up email. It was a call for female scientists to take part in our local Soapbox Scienceevent, to be held in Milton Keynes shopping centre in the summer of 2016. Although initially hesitant, I talked myself into applying, thinking it would be good for me to have to talk about my PhD research to a public audience.
One year on I thought I’d reflect on my Soapbox experience, in the hope of encouraging other female scientists to apply.