Putting the Pieces Together

October 20, 2022
Submitted By: Office of Marketing and Communication
Professor Caron

Jigsaw puzzles…data points…teamwork…all the pieces come together in Professor EB Caron’s statistics class. 

Caron, an assistant professor of psychology, has transformed her passion for puzzles into an academic exercise, advising students to find relationships between completion times and practice in order to strengthen skills needed for research. 

Meanwhile, she’s taking her hobby to the next level this weekend: Caron is traveling to San Diego for the USA Jigsaw National Championship. The event will be livestreamed here. The Hartford Courant caught up with her this week to chat about it all.

“When I was a kid, we’d be doing puzzles as a family, and you daydream while you’re puzzling, and I daydreamed about getting even better when I was a grownup and maybe being in a jigsaw puzzle competition,” she says. “As an adult, I googled it and was like, ‘Oh, it’s a real thing, wow!’” 

Now she completes puzzles with her husband as her two tiny youngsters watch and soak up the best strategies. Caron prefers to stand the entire time, eyes and hands never slowing down as she swiftly scans the pieces before her and groups those with similar colors. 

She’s entering all three categories in the national competition: individual, pair, and team.

Caron has joined more than 50 in-person and online competitions over the past few years, both in and outside of Connecticut. This summer, she competed in Boston with her husband, polishing off a 1,000-piece puzzle in 54 minutes and winning the entire event. 


Student doing puzzle

This week in class, students pieced together jigsaw puzzles in groups, preparing to compare their completion time with a dataset of other puzzlers, and study z-tests. The results of the students’ z-tests showed that two teams were not statistically different from solo speed puzzlers (surprising them and contrary to their hypotheses), and two teams finished in a longer time than solo competitors (confirming their hypotheses).

Anyone interested in forming a jigsaw puzzle team on campus can contact Caron at