From as far back as psychologists Robert Sternberg, and Janet Davidson argued that solving puzzles entails the ability to compare hidden information in a puzzle with information already in memory, and, more importantly, the ability to combine the information to form novel information and ideas1. The thinking involved in solving puzzles can be characterized as a blend of imaginative association and memory. It is this combination that possibly leads us to find the pattern or twist within a puzzle, leave to that "Aha" moment when you get to the solution.
While there have been research to suggests that culture is a factor in how puzzles affect brain functioning. Ambiguous empirical data aside, even though people speak different languages, puzzles seem to rise above culture-specific modes of understanding the world.
Puzzles seem to tap into a universal part of brain functioning, even though they may appear in different cultural forms. The river crossing puzzle is a classic example of this. The puzzle can be found across the world in various formats from cannibals to jealous spouses, the details may change, but the underling structure structure remains the same. This can be interpreted to suggest that the puzzle is culture independent, as it's a common part of human imagination. The author and mathematician Henry E. Dudeney mentioned:
The curious propensity for propounding puzzles is not peculiar to any race or any period of history. It is simply innate, though it is always showing itself in different forms; whether the individual be a Sphinx of Egypt, a Samson of Hebrew lore, an Indian fakir, a Chinese philosopher, a mahatma of Tibet, or a European mathematician makes little difference 2
There have been many many academic types involved in not just mathematics, but also psychology that have been involved in popular puzzles for entertainment and reasearch.
Professor Tago himself is a researcher in the field of psychology, and author of the Head Gymnasium series of puzzle books.
I'm curious of that kind is involved psychologically in the process of creating puzzles, in contrast to solving puzzles. Particularly what aspects of brain function and psychology have been researched and suggested by academic and professional sources to involved when creating puzzles?
1 Sternberg, Robert J., and Janet E. Davidson. "The mind of the puzzler." Psychology Today 16.6 (1982): 37-44.
2 H.E. Dudeney, The Canterbury Puzzles and Other Curious Problems, (1958): 12