Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Competitive Scrabble makes you smarter

18.08.2011
Researchers in psychology discover benefits of Scrabble practice for word recognition

Since competitive Scrabble players are expert at studying language, University of Calgary researchers sought to determine if and how players' techniques and training changed the process of reading words.

They 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. "They have done this in two ways. First the scrabble players showed less difference in the time it took to recognize a word as real when it was positioned vertically than they did for a horizontal word, whereas non-Scrabble players are much slower in reading vertically."

The second way is in recognizing words mainly in terms of their visual appearance, and less in terms of the words' meaning. Competitive Scrabble players' efficient recognition of letter sequences demonstrates why even non-English speakers are able to master the game.

Researchers were surprised to find that for scrabble players the meaning of the word had less impact on their ability to recognize and process a word.

"This is atypical," says Hargreaves. "Usually the meaning of the word would have a bigger impact a person's decision about whether or not it is a true word. This shows that one consequence of extensive Scrabble training is that Scrabble players don't tend to emphasize what the words mean. Words are most importantly plays in a game."

The study, "How a hobby can shape cognition: visual word recognition in competitive Scrabble players," is published in the August 2011 issue of Memory and Cognition by Springer. The full-text article is available to journalists upon request.

James Stevenson | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.ucalgary.ca

More articles from Studies and Analyses:

nachricht Europe’s Demographic Future. Where the Regions Are Heading after a Decade of Crises
10.08.2017 | Berlin-Institut für Bevölkerung und Entwicklung

nachricht Scientists reveal source of human heartbeat in 3-D
07.08.2017 | University of Manchester

All articles from Studies and Analyses >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Fizzy soda water could be key to clean manufacture of flat wonder material: Graphene

Whether you call it effervescent, fizzy, or sparkling, carbonated water is making a comeback as a beverage. Aside from quenching thirst, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have discovered a new use for these "bubbly" concoctions that will have major impact on the manufacturer of the world's thinnest, flattest, and one most useful materials -- graphene.

As graphene's popularity grows as an advanced "wonder" material, the speed and quality at which it can be manufactured will be paramount. With that in mind,...

Im Focus: Exotic quantum states made from light: Physicists create optical “wells” for a super-photon

Physicists at the University of Bonn have managed to create optical hollows and more complex patterns into which the light of a Bose-Einstein condensate flows. The creation of such highly low-loss structures for light is a prerequisite for complex light circuits, such as for quantum information processing for a new generation of computers. The researchers are now presenting their results in the journal Nature Photonics.

Light particles (photons) occur as tiny, indivisible portions. Many thousands of these light portions can be merged to form a single super-photon if they are...

Im Focus: Circular RNA linked to brain function

For the first time, scientists have shown that circular RNA is linked to brain function. When a RNA molecule called Cdr1as was deleted from the genome of mice, the animals had problems filtering out unnecessary information – like patients suffering from neuropsychiatric disorders.

While hundreds of circular RNAs (circRNAs) are abundant in mammalian brains, one big question has remained unanswered: What are they actually good for? In the...

Im Focus: RAVAN CubeSat measures Earth's outgoing energy

An experimental small satellite has successfully collected and delivered data on a key measurement for predicting changes in Earth's climate.

The Radiometer Assessment using Vertically Aligned Nanotubes (RAVAN) CubeSat was launched into low-Earth orbit on Nov. 11, 2016, in order to test new...

Im Focus: Scientists shine new light on the “other high temperature superconductor”

A study led by scientists of the Max Planck Institute for the Structure and Dynamics of Matter (MPSD) at the Center for Free-Electron Laser Science in Hamburg presents evidence of the coexistence of superconductivity and “charge-density-waves” in compounds of the poorly-studied family of bismuthates. This observation opens up new perspectives for a deeper understanding of the phenomenon of high-temperature superconductivity, a topic which is at the core of condensed matter research since more than 30 years. The paper by Nicoletti et al has been published in the PNAS.

Since the beginning of the 20th century, superconductivity had been observed in some metals at temperatures only a few degrees above the absolute zero (minus...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Call for Papers – ICNFT 2018, 5th International Conference on New Forming Technology

16.08.2017 | Event News

Sustainability is the business model of tomorrow

04.08.2017 | Event News

Clash of Realities 2017: Registration now open. International Conference at TH Köln

26.07.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

A Map of the Cell’s Power Station

18.08.2017 | Life Sciences

Engineering team images tiny quasicrystals as they form

18.08.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Researchers printed graphene-like materials with inkjet

18.08.2017 | Materials Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>