Benefits of Word Games

Can Word Games Make You Smarter?

Various research studies have shown that word games and puzzles can benefit people of all ages:

Increase vocabulary if you look up definitions (and especially if you use the words in daily life)

Develop and improve spelling skills

Maintain and improve language skills in general

Maintain or improve memory

Develop and improve arithmetic skills

Increase concentration and attention span

Increase confidence in abilities

Increase ability to deal with frustration

Develop eye-hand coordination

There is some evidence they benefit people with dyslexia and ADHD

Some research claims they can raise IQ

Other benefits of word games and puzzles:

They are fun.

You can do them alone or with others.

You don't have to travel -- to a gym, ball field or golf course, for example -- to play.

Little equipment is necessary and word games and puzzles cost little and are often free.

You are rewarded psychologically when you make a good move, find the right word, win a game or finish a puzzle.

Cotton Word Games:

They are free.

There are no time constraints: play when you like; play one or more games; play part of a game, save it and resume at a later time.

The large number of games and the different game levels and computer levels of each offer pleasurable challenges for years. The Search and Suggestions functions help to reduce the frustration and increase the fun factor. See Word Games Should Be Fun.

The large and very-large size tile sets and choice of font sizes enable almost everyone to play.

So, will playing Cotton Software's word games make you smarter? If, while you play, you learn new words and definitions then you will accumulate new information and will know more than you did. Depending upon your age your arithmetic skills and/or eye-hand coordination may develop. Your ability to concentrate may increase. And so on.

But will you be smarter, more intelligent, clever, articulate, sensible, wise, perceptive, logical or quick-witted? Nobody knows for sure.

Can Word Games Retard Mental Decline?

Above are listed some of ways word games and puzzles benefit people of all ages. But what about older people specifically?

We now know that an adult brain isn't static; new nerve connections can be made and even new neurons produced.

There is some evidence that engaging in goal-oriented, pleasurable activities, such as doing crossword puzzles and playing word games, may improve memory and general mental health and may delay the decline in memory and mental activity. There is also evidence that maintaining a rich and varied social life delays mental deterioration and even physical exercise may be mentally beneficial. But the various studies are not entirely convincing in terms of cause and effect.

Common sense says that using your brain will help to keep it fit. The analogy is with muscles: if you don't use them you lose them. But common sense and analogies are not evidence.

Will playing Cotton Software's word games retard mental decline? There is some evidence that people who do crossword puzzles regularly are less likely to develop dementia than those who do not, but, again, the studies are not entirely convincing. It may be that regularly engaging in mental exercise (activities that require you to think and that give you some degree of pleasure) such as word games helps to maintain mental fitness. And maybe not.


Cotton Software makes no claims that our word games have any physiological or psychological benefits.

However, as far as we know there is no evidence that mental exercise is harmful -- that doing word puzzles or playing word games will make you stupider or hasten senility -- and some evidence that they are beneficial.