Makes you smarter to solve crossword puzzles

Crossword puzzles protect against mental decline, but differently than expected

Those who regularly solve crossword puzzles or read complicated books do not degrade so quickly in old age - many think and try to puzzle hard every day and thus counteract mental decline. But British scientists show in 2018: The connection is different.

Researchers led by Roger Staff from the University of Aberdeen examined 498 volunteers for their study. They carefully selected their test subjects: All of them were born in 1936, so they are 81 or 82 years old. And they all know how intelligent they were as children. Because they had already taken part in an intelligence test, the so-called Moray House Test, at the age of eleven.

The scientists began their examinations when the subjects were 64 years old and called them in for new tests several times over a period of 15 years. They had to crack various puzzles that showed, among other things, how fast they could think and how good their memory was. The researchers made a note of who had gone through which school career, which training or which studies. In addition, all participants completed a questionnaire asking how much they liked to face intellectual challenges such as reading or discussing certain ideas.

The researchers observed a connection between intelligence and formal education: Those who had a high IQ and were better educated preferred to challenge themselves intellectually. And: those who regularly challenged their brains were mentally fitter in old age.