Jigsaw Puzzles: Personal Development Benefits
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Author: Dan, posted on 6/26/2012 , in Category "General"
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Abstract: Many people love assembling jigsaw puzzles. In addition to the fun part, there are many personal development benefits that are presented as follows.

The gaming industry is blooming, people spend hours on all sorts of games, and the advance of technology provides ongoing user experience improvements. Games are the learning method that our brains favor most and can be very educational. Games that are challenging and imaginative can stimulate curiosity among children and encourage learning through feedback [1]. In addition to some newly developed games, many people love jigsaw puzzles. These games should not be underestimated, as they offer valuable benefits and have more fans than what we see on the surface. In the recent decade many have moved to assemble jigsaw puzzles games online, thus evolving with the new digital era and enjoying its many advantages while preserving the game’s old charm. Researchers found that web-based problem-solving activities not only promote the flow experience, learning attitudes, learning interest and technology acceptance degree of students, but also improve their learning achievements [2].
Some interesting benefits of Jigsaw puzzles are presented as follows. Since this game offers valuable personal development advantages, some online Jigsaw puzzles are offered in the free games section of the FunStuff page for you to enjoy.

Jigsaw Puzzles Benefits and Advantages
  • Self-evaluation enhancement. In jigsaw puzzle online games, the action is taken following the available pieces of information, evaluating uncertain payoffs or making random moves when no clear choice is evident. The advantage of the online environment is that the online puzzle game may encourage players to pay immediate attention to mistakes and thus enable a faster process of self-evaluation than traditional approaches [1].
  • Problem solving techniques improvement. In slower-paced environments, such as Scrabble and jigsaw puzzle playing and shelving books, informational structuring facilitates the development of problem solving techniques, which can help us in many everyday activities [3]. Since the game has a slower pace than many other games and activities, it teaches patience, observation and focus, which are a virtue that can often serve us.
  • Improving learning capabilities. The process of the jigsaw puzzle assembling is similar to the average person’s changing rate of learning, known as the learning curve: in the typical learning curve, the most effort lies in the beginning, and then gradually evens out. Similarly, when assembling a jigsaw puzzle, choosing and fitting the first pieces implies effort and intuition which are mostly needed in the beginning, and as the image becomes more apparent the effort is then gradually decreased to the point of some missing pieces, where the image can be quickly completed. By the similarity to the learning curve that fits many activities in our lives, it is easy to see how playing with jigsaw puzzles can improve our learning capabilities.
  • Dementia treatment. Researchers found that although Semantic Dementia (SD) patients have a diminishing ability to understand the world around them, their visuospatial skills and concentration appear to be maintained or even enhanced in solving jigsaw puzzles.[4]
  • Fulfillment. In our modern world, the need for a constant stimulation goes along with the rapid pace of technological developments. When we are occupied with something, our mind tries to prepare the next activity. A puzzle can fill exactly this gap, occupying whatever part of your mind you want it to [5]: When you are too tired to do anything else, it can be the foreground – the dominant current activity. When you're preoccupied, the puzzle can be the backdrop for thought. When you want to half-watch TV, the puzzle offers its assistance to the other half.
  • Facilitates acceptance and understanding. Jigsaw puzzles can become a filter that organizes your perceptions of the world [5]. One that plays regularly with jigsaw puzzles may notice that reality is in a way simply a jigsaw puzzle. This can be manifested from a physical appearance of the 3D environment as a collection of structured pieces of a 3D surface, to the connection of logical pieces and thoughts that allow us to see this world and reality in general to something that makes sense.
John Spilsbury gets the credit for inventing the jigsaw puzzle. He began marketing map puzzles around 1760 as an educational tool for children. From that moment on the jigsaw puzzle game became widely popular [6]. Today you can find them everywhere from the flea market, antique stores, retailers, and of course online.

References:
  1. Hong, J.-C., M.-Y. Hwang, et al., Effects of cognitive style on digital jigsaw puzzle performance: A GridWare analysis. Computers in Human Behavior. 28(3): p. 920-928. 
  2. HwangG.-J., WuP.-H. & ChenC.-C., An online game approach for improving students' learning performance in web-based problem-solving activities, Computers & Education (2012), doi: 10.1016/j.compedu.2012.05.009.
  3. Kirsh, D., The intelligent use of space. Artificial Intelligence, 1995. 73(1-2): p. 31-68.
  4. Green, H.A.C. and K. Patterson, Jigsaws-A preserved ability in semantic dementia. Neuropsychologia, 2009. 47(2): p. 569-576. 
  5. Morris, T., Puzzlement. The American Scholar, 1998. 67(4): p. 113. 6.Brown, C., 2,500 easy pieces. Forbes, 1993. 151(6): p. 134.

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