Brain training games, plenty of advertisements are floating around there for you to enhance your brain’s ability. But what if you don’t want to play on your phone? What about a classic game? Enter, Scrabble, a word game in which two to four players score points by placing tiles, each bearing a single letter, onto a game board divided into 15 x 15 grids of squares. The tiles must form words that, in crossword fashion, read left to right in rows or downwards in columns. And can be included in a standard dictionary. In a 2015 study of competitive scrabble players, researchers found that scrabble experts made use of a different area of the brain during vocabulary decisions, compared to subjects with little to no scrabble expertise. This means playing scrabble could be beneficial to people with neurodegenerative disorders that target a particular part of the brain. Here are some more ways scrabble affects your brain.
It’s not surprising that playing scrabble can teach you new words. It’s especially painful when you learn the word at the cost of an important square on the board and a smug look on your opponent’s face. For those still learning it could be of great benefit to use this resource to help them learn more words for a better chance at healthy competition with veteran scrabble players. Because learning new vocabulary is made easy and fun by scrabble it is also a great choice to get kids to improve their language skills.
Mostly concerned with words, scrabble is not an extremely strategic game. It is not only enough to be knowledgeable about what words you can make with your tiles, but it is also important to be able to place them strategically on the board to maximize your point gain. Certain squares on the board are designated with double or triple word bonuses. These are highly sought after spots and using uncommon letters and words in combination with these spots score massive points. Be on the lookout for them!
Focus is a rare commodity these days. Attention spans are getting shorter and shorter, and we are constantly bombarded with images and videos grasping for our attention. Multitasking can only get you so far, though. Prolonged periods of having to multitask are fatiguing and usually don’t end up being very productive due to mistakes and inaccuracies. It is important to try and counteract these urges to be constantly checking our phones and looking for more material. Scrabble is a great way to train your mind to focus on a sole task and keep distractions away. Disconnecting from the screens is always a good idea once in a while and keeps us feeling fresh.
Interactions with Others
One of the most obvious factors in how the brain works differently in scrabble is that you have to play against somebody. This opponent is directly across from you, and can be a stranger, friend, or family member. The point is you are interacting with another human being. The brain functions much differently when performing tasks by yourself or in the presence of others. Interacting with other players forces us to constantly re-evaluate our position, strategy, and performance. We are always comparing ourselves to those next to us. If our opponent is very skilled at the game, it is not unreasonable to want to do your best to beat them. This can inspire you to get better at the game, improving your language and game skills.
Fun vs Chore
When people think of training, they usually associate it with expending effort. An uncomfortable thought, not many enjoy doing. When you have to think of something as a task that must be completed, then it becomes tedious and difficult to do if you get bored of it. Here is the genius behind scrabble. Since the brain considers scrabble to be a game, it is considered fun. Fun things are perceived in a more positive light in the brain, and you become more inclined to repeat this task. This can be ideal if you want to create a training regime for your memory. Instead of thinking of it as training time, think of it instead of playing time and you won’t dread the activity!
Scrabble is one of those classic board games that will stick around for ages to come. It has been around for a long time and will be exactly because it is a fun way to keep the brain sharp and healthy. It enriches the vocabulary of players, teaches some strategy, improves attention and memory, all while being packaged as a fun board game. So next time you are feeling like playing a game, try breaking out the scrabble board and getting some mind training in with your fun time?