Sunday, October 24, 2010

Women are The Real Puzzle Fanatics

Given men’s reputation as the competitive sex, it’s a verdict that is puzzling to say the least. When it comes to crosswords and Sudokus, it’s actually women that tend to take them seriously, research shows.

Women were four times more likely than men to admit to being compulsive puzzle players obsessed only with winning, the study found. On the other hand, more men than women said their motivation for completing puzzles was to keep themselves intellectually sharp.

The study questioned 598 people, with equal numbers of men and women, on their puzzle habits. Most (41 per cent) described themselves as ‘Challenger’ players who completed puzzles to keep themselves mentally active and exercise their brains.

More than 15 per cent described themselves as ‘Intuitive’ players who were naturally talented at puzzles and whose only goal was to complete them.  Some 14 per cent confessed to being ‘Secret’ puzzlers who played on the quiet; while 12 per cent were ‘Dipping’ puzzlers who made a crossword last a week, often without finishing it.

‘Social’ puzzle fans, who played only in company, accounted for 11 per cent. Just 7 per cent would admit to being ‘Compulsive’ players who described themselves as having a deeply competitive streak and being obsessed with winning.

Of those, 81 per cent were female, implying that women are more likely to mean business when it comes to puzzle-playing. Of the ‘Challenger’ group, who played to stir their grey matter, 51 per cent were men.

But more women than men (61 per cent to 39 per cent) admitted to being ‘Dippers’. And women accounted for 61 per cent of those in the ‘Secret’ category.

The research, commissioned by Nintendo, also found that almost every adult (96 per cent) has played a puzzle or brainteaser at some time. Other recent scientific studies have suggested that brainteasers and logic puzzles can help the brain to perform better.

One found that completing crosswords and playing Sudoku can make your brain up to 14 years younger. Puzzles involving words and numbers were found to be best at retaining mental dexterity.

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