Remember Text Twist? That popular online game from decades ago may be old, but its influence on many word games at present remains. One of the most intriguing things about it is the tendency of many players to fail to guess all of the words. Many would end up getting frustrated upon learning that the words they missed were simple and quite obvious ones.
This phenomenon is similar to what can be observed in other word games like Wordscapes. Many have searched for Wordscapes level 108, for example, as they get stuck on the level. For most players, words like her, she, his, heirs, sire, rise, and other simple terms should have been conspicuous enough. However, many end up failing to type them in.
Missing the obvious
There is a possible relevant scientific explanation for all of these, and it is nicknamed the science of missing the obvious. University of Illinois-Urbana Champaign Psychology Professor, Alejandro Lleras, shares that people tend to instinctively establish biases based on previous events. These biases appear to automatically block certain images or details because they are deemed as distractions.
Simple three-letter or four-letter words easily escape the minds of word puzzle players, especially those who have been playing the game for quite some time. The brain may be thinking that some of the words have already been entered before, so they are automatically concealed or excluded from the choices.
There’s also the possibility that word puzzle players try to look for more complex or sophisticated words, so they end up eliminating simpler and shorter ones. They fixate on things they think they barely know and unwittingly disregard the things that are common to them.
Not extensive enough vocabulary
The Economist once published its collection of “lexical facts,” which revealed that most adult English speakers have a vocabulary of 20,000 to 35,000 words. In more recent studies, the numbers have risen to 42,000 words by the age of 20 and around 48,000 words by the age of sixty. Meanwhile, the English language has more than 170,000 words. This alone says a lot about the inability of most word puzzle game players to guess all of the missing words.
Many are not familiar with even half of all the words in English, even those with only three or four letters in them. This is a significant hurdle in being equipped enough in answering word puzzle mobile games. Missing common words is relatively common, but it is also possible that the issues are far more complicated.
In summary, many factors are at play in the reason for the low likelihood of anyone to guess all of the words in word puzzle games. It could be because of the psychological phenomenon of missing the obvious. However, it is also possible that players just don’t really know the words.