The Psychology behind Wordle

The Psychology behind Wordle

Cynthia Ovide

Wordle is the game that has taken over not only the classrooms of Saint Joe, but the nation. After seeing the sudden obsession in myself and peers surrounding the game, it became evident that there was a scientific reason for the addiction.

Firstly, Wordle isn’t a bingeable game. We can’t play it a bunch of times until we get sick of it. There are knock offs and parodies of the game, but none of them compare to the real thing. Because of this, we find ourselves coming back for more day after day.

The more interesting theory as to why Wordle captivates our attention is a term coined by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi. Csikszentmihalyi was a Hungarian psychologist that popularized the idea of flow. Flow is, “a state in which people are so involved in an activity that nothing else seems to matter; the experience is so enjoyable that people will continue to do it even at great cost, for the sheer sake of doing it.” When we achieve this state of flow, time ceases to exist. It’s when we find ourselves the most authentically happy. Wordle allows us to enter into this state of flow, achieving satisfaction in completing the task everyday.

Lastly, we love Wordle so much because it can be a collaborative effort. As humans, we love connecting with each other over shared tasks. Whether you complete the Wordle alone or with others, you always have the ability to discuss how it went and plan how it’ll go. Because of this, it’s a game that also satisfies our social needs.