Like what you've read?

On Line Opinion is the only Australian site where you get all sides of the story. We don't
charge, but we need your support. Here�s how you can help.

  • Advertise

    We have a monthly audience of 70,000 and advertising packages from $200 a month.

  • Volunteer

    We always need commissioning editors and sub-editors.

  • Contribute

    Got something to say? Submit an essay.

 The National Forum   Donate   Your Account   On Line Opinion   Forum   Blogs   Polling   About   
On Line Opinion logo ON LINE OPINION - Australia's e-journal of social and political debate


On Line Opinion is a not-for-profit publication and relies on the generosity of its sponsors, editors and contributors. If you would like to help, contact us.


RSS 2.0

The wonders and worries of Wordle

By Ashley Humphrey - posted Tuesday, 22 March 2022

Over the space of just a few short months, the internet-based word game Wordle has become the latest online pandemic craze. Involving the seemingly straightforward task of guessing a five-letter mystery word, players are required to break down the probability of the differing letter combinations to guess the daily target word, having six chances per day to do so.

Uniquely, the game came only be played once a day, with the daily word resetting every 24 hours along with players six daily attempts to decipher it.

Wordle is often compared to crosswords, but according to Erin Sebo, a scholar of Medieval Literature at Flinders University, the mental processes required to successfully solve the daily word are more akin to 'code-cracking' than the purely linguistical nous required by many other word puzzles.


In a recent article published in the Conversation, Sebo suggests that along with guess work and a bit of luck, one's knowledge of 'spelling conventions' and 'sound patterns in English' are crucial to their Wordle success.

By applying these principles, players are able to draw on their linguistic skills to narrow down word possibilities, by calculating the probability of different letter combinations.

Interestingly, these are a set of linguistic skills that were often drawn on by allied codebreakers who successfully deciphered enemy codes during the height of the Second World War.

It is through these cognitive processes that Wordle activates both the language and logic parts of the brain, and irrespective of one's success in solving the daily puzzle, provides players with a nice hit of dopamine in the process.

Adding to this psychological appeal, Wordles popularity has been enhanced by the game's presence across different social media channels, as people proudly (or despondently) share their daily fortunes around solving the word of the day.

Indeed, immediately after completing a game, players are given the option to 'share' their successes or failures on their social media platforms in a way that does not give away the results of the days puzzle to others.


This sharing option is significant, as it provides us with further insight into the psychology behind the success of online game such as Wordle in capturing mass people's attention.

This online sharing function can be contrasted with the humble newspaper crossword or sudoku puzzle, enduring word games that remain popular for people even in this digital age, and yet which are largely individual pursuits, and offer little to no space for competition or validation from others.

Via its online sharing option, Wordle on the other hand provides an outlet of online community for players all around the world, with sense of community irrefutably linked to the game's success.

  1. Pages:
  2. Page 1
  3. 2
  4. All

Discuss in our Forums

See what other readers are saying about this article!

Click here to read & post comments.

Share this:
reddit this reddit thisbookmark with Del.icio.usdigg thisseed newsvineSeed NewsvineStumbleUpon StumbleUponsubmit to propellerkwoff it

About the Author

Ashley Humphrey is a research psychologist and lecturer at Federation University, as well as CEO of the JET Network, an organisation that delivers seminars addressing the topic of values and mental health to thousands of young people every year.

Other articles by this Author

All articles by Ashley Humphrey

Creative Commons LicenseThis work is licensed under a Creative Commons License.

Photo of Ashley Humphrey
Article Tools
Comment Comments
Print Printable version
Subscribe Subscribe
Email Email a friend

About Us Search Discuss Feedback Legals Privacy