chapter  13
20 Pages

Psychology and Role-Playing Games

WithSarah Lynne Bowman, Andreas Lieberoth

This chapter explores role-playing from different existing scientific frameworks, including developmental, cognitive, behavioral, motivational, clinical, and social psychology. It emphasizes the subjective psychological interpretations of role-playing through various perspectives, including phenomenology, hobbyist theories, role-play studies, and psychoanalysis. The chapter presents the evidence that can be leveraged from the psychological sciences, based on empirical research in the positivist tradition and the uses and conjectures of other forms of analysis. Cognitive psychology studies the mind and mental function, including learning, memory, attention, perception, reasoning, language, conceptual development, cognitive capacities, and decision-making. Most research on the cognitive effects of games has attempted to understand the links between video game play and aggression. Some see a causal connection, while others refute it. Psychologists have examined why games appear to be highly motivating. Indeed, looking for motivational effects has been one of the more fruitful empirical approaches to the psychological study of games, including digital and analog role-playing games in schools.