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Ask Marilyn: Does Working Puzzles Make You Smarter?
John Eskeldson of Hillsboro, Oregon, writes:
Marilyn: I'm writing with regard to the reader's question, "What causes us to have this desire to solve puzzles such as ... ?" (August 26, 2012) You answered the question and closed with the comment, "Plus, after the mental exercise, you feel a little smarter. And who knows? Maybe you are."
I have been reading a book that affirms your comment: Use It or Lose It! How To Keep Your Brain Fit As It Ages, by Allen Bragdon and David Gamon, makes a strong point that working puzzles of various types (and other brain exercise such as analysis and problem-solving) does help keep our brain working as we get older. My wife works the sudoku in each daily newspaper. I need to find more time to solve Numbrix and other puzzles.
I am reluctant to state that doing puzzles—even difficult ones and other forms of brainwork—can make one smarter, but they surely help one function closer to one's capacity.