List of Possible Research Projects for RPG Research

by RPG Research Admin published 2015/05/15 02:05:00 GMT-7, last modified 2022-11-12T09:26:45-07:00
The front page of provides an overview of potential topics to research. This page will attempt to define these in a bit more detail.

The front page of the RPG Research project website, , lists 23 major goals for research on the effects of role-playing gaming upon participants.

This page will further drill down to provide some more detail on possible specific research topic, which can then be detailed even further when those projects are actually underway.

I Attempt to verify or invalidate existing correlative and meta-research results. Much of the existing research is dated from the 1980's and 1990's. Attempt to bring the research up to date, and verify if there are any statistically significant differences found between role-playing gamers and the general populace, at difference age and other demographic levels.

A. Correlative items to investigate:

1. Experiences/perceptions of gender bias in the community and/or industry - Currently underway.

2. Demographics statistics

a. Income

b. Marriage patterns

c. Family status

d. Offspring

e. Employment

f. Location

g. Ethnicity

h. Age

i. Gender

j. Debt

k. etc.

3. Intelligence tests, comparisons between non-gamers and gamers, public versus private gamers, etc.

a. Stanford-Binet Intelligence Scale: Ages 2 to 90

b. Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children: Ages 6 to 16

c. Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale (WAIS): Ages 16 to 89

d. Woodcock-Johnson III Tests of Cognitive Abilities: Ages 2 to 90+

e. Cognitive Assessment System (CAS): Ages 5 to 17

f. Others

4. Personality types




5. Incidents of occultism

6. Belief in paranormal

7. Emotional stability

8. Dissociation

9. Suggestibility

10. Incidents of substance abuse/addiction

11. Suicide rates

12. Antisocial personality traits

13. Problem solving skills

14. Math skills

15. Verbal skills

16. Writing skills

17. Research skills

18. History knowledge/comprehension skills

19. Spacial relations

20. Organizational skills

21. Team coordination skills

22. Leadership skills

23. Strength of ethics, morality, convictions, religiosity,

24. Feelings of social alienation or stigma

25. Criminal behavior/history

26. Propensity for violent thoughts and/or behaviors

27. Adaptive versus rigid/maladaptive personality traits

28. Aggressive versus passive

29. Competitive versus cooperative

30. Racial and gender stereotype attitudes

31. Depression rates

32. Foreign language adoption levels

33. Levels of empathy

34. Deviancy

35. Pathology

36. Incidents of diagnosed mental illness and/or co-morbidity

37. Social alienation

B. Determine if there are any correlative demographic idiosyncrasies in variables found between intensely dedicated role-playing gamers, more casual but experienced role playing gamers, and the general population. For example, are there any noticeable differences in employment rates, income, household ownership, marriage status, children, ethnicity, religion, etc.

C. Determine if the correlative tests indicating significant differences in role-playing gamers from the general populace, are a causal result of their participation in role-playing games? Or is it because they already had significant differences, and were attracted to role-playing games because of these differences? For example, are role-playing gamers better problem solvers because of engaging in the activity or role-playing gaming which helped them develop new or better problem solving skills? Or are are they drawn to the activity because they are already inherently adept problem solvers, and enjoy applying their aptitude to such an environment as role-playing games provide.

D. Determine if any differentiation exists between participants of different role playing gaming forms such as classic paper and dice tabletop RPGs, compared to live action role playing games (LARP), or computer-based role playing games.

E. Bio & Neurofeedback/monitoring

a. Perform bio-feedback and neuro-feedback analysis on role-playing gamers before, during, and after gaming sessions to determine if any measurable effects are observable by these media.

b. Perform long term monitoring to see if any longer term differences noted over time.

F. Neuro-imaging

1. Apply neuro-imaging analysis between long-time gamers and non-gamers for comparison and any correlative differences.

2. Apply neuro-imaging on participants before, during, and after participation in role-playing games using FMRI (Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging) and PET (Positron Emission Tomography) to determine the measurable activity and/or if there are any longer term physiological changes of the brain.

3. Apply neuro-imaging analysis between long-time gamers and non-gamers for comparison and any correlative differences.

4. Apply neuro-imaging on participants before, during, and after participation in role-playing games using FMRI (Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging) and PET (Positron Emission Tomography) to determine the measurable activity and/or if there are any longer term physiological changes of the brain.

II. Causality

A. Short Term controlled research

1. Acquire participants for various demographics that have not participated in role-playing gaming previously.

2. Perform baseline testing on subjects prior to participation in RPG (see correlative list for examples of some potential baseline tests, and then select individual or sets of variables to monitor using those tools)

3. Separate subjects randomly into difference groups

a. Control

b. Placebo

c. Various experimental

i. Juvenile ages 13-17 (various sub-groups as needed)

ii. Young Adult ages 18-25 (various sub-groups as needed)

iii. etc.

iv. etc.

4. Provide game sessions at different recurring periods (weekly, bi-weekly, monthly, etc.).

5. Provide game sessions of differing lengths

a. 30 minutes

b. 45 minutes

c. 1 hour

d. 2 hours

e. 3-4 hours

f. 5-6 hours

g. etc. etc.

6. Provide differing total number of sessions

a. 1 session

b. 2 sessions (e.g. 2 weeks)

c. 1 month

d. 2 months

e. 3 months

f. 6 months

g. 1 year

h. etc. etc.


Determine if there are any repeatable causal influences on those who participate regularly in role playing gaming recreational activities. Many possible variables could be evaluated, such as problem solving, mood, social skills, etc.

If there are indicators that role-playing games have a causal impact on participants, attempt to determine if there are any differentiations in impact on test subjects between "heroic" and "evil" game campaign settings.



If data indicates potential causality, attempt to narrow and clarify the variables, looking for any differentiations in results.

Determine optimal duration of game sessions for maximal benefit. Variables would include determining the ideal duration of each session, how frequently to repeat the sessions, and how many sessions are sufficient for long term impacts.

Determine if any differences are indicated from participation in shorter single sessions versus longer "campaigns" over different durations.

Determine if different game systems such as Dungeons & Dragons versus Lord of the Rings role-playing gaming, have any measurable differences in effect on the participants.

Determine if different role-playing game genres have any measurable differences. Examples include comparing fantasy-based role-playing games to horror, science fiction, cowboy westerns, anime and comic book characters, historical or religious settings, etc.

Within a specific genre, determine if different campaign settings have any measurable differences in specific therapeutic or educational influences on participants.

Determine differences between various populations and cultures in response to participating in role-playing games. For example the claimed significant gender differential in participation with tabletop role-playing games, or any differences in the Deaf community, or differences from other countries and cultures, etc.

Determine ideal environment settings for sessions. Variables would include temperature, seating arrangements, lighting, olfactory stimulus, auditory stimulus, and other related variables.

Determine if there are any repeatable "positive" or "negative" statistically significant characteristics that can clearly be defined, and might be most useful as a therapeutic treatment or educational tool, either separately or in conjunction with other modalities.

Experiment with creating “adventure modules” specifically designed to address targeted population needs such as socialization issues between different groups in the Deaf Community, people suffering from unipolar depression, bipolar, PTSD, Autism, Aspergher's, ADD/ADHD, Alzheimer's, traumatic brain injury recovery, schizophrenia, and other social, therapeutic, or educational needs. An example includes attempting to deliver measurable benefits over a typical 6-8 week course, comparable to some other treatment modalities.

If indicated, define the requirements for a Game Master Therapist (GMT) or Game Master Instructor (GMI) in applying a role-playing game therapeutic or educational module.

As research progresses, continue to adjust various hypotheses according to the data gathered, and update research goals accordingly.

Establish industry standard practices and create Role-playing Gaming Therapy Handbook of Practice.



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