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What Makes Wordle So Popular? Psychologists Explain Its Appeal

Turns out that a daily dose of intellectual victory and social interaction makes for a winning formula.


Wordle isn't just a fun game, it's a way of life for people who like to flex their vocabulary skills before they start the day. The puzzle is easy to learn and fiendishly difficult to successfully complete depending on the word of the day, but what is it that makes Wordle so popular in the first place? According to University of Calgary psychologist Penny Pexman on The Conversation and spotted by Inca.Africa, Wordle's broad appeal can be summed up as a need to keep the mind busy while being part of a community.

"With only one Wordle released per day, everyone is solving the same puzzle. The online game's sharing options also allow us to share our results with others without giving the answer away," Pexman wrote. "That means Wordle is also creating an opportunity for shared experience at a time when many people are feeling disconnected from others."

It's worth noting that the analysis of Wordle is still in the very early stages given its recent explosion in popularity, although other word-focused games such as Scrabble and Words With Friends also helped inform Pexman's team. University of Washington professor of communication Katy Pearce reached a similar conclusion over on Vox, adding that the low-key nature of the game, social interaction, and having a chance to show off your brain muscles makes for an enticing combination.

In other news about the game, The New York Times has bought Wordle as part of its strategy to grow its digital subscriptions to 10 million by the year 2025. If you're also looking to see what the best Wordle starting word is, science has your back. Science has also proven what the worst Wordle starting word is, which your resident atomic scientists will know of. Lastly, you can get more than just a single Wordle challenge every day, thanks to one fan setting up an archive of past puzzles.

Darryn Bonthuys on Google+

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