Not everyone can visualize for their imagination...

by Hawke Robinson published 2017/07/26 20:00:00 GMT-7, last modified 2021-01-22T22:44:05-08:00
It is important to use adjectives addressing many senses, and visual aides for keeping track, to keep in mind a notable portion of the population that does not imagine through visualization....

This touches on several different populations.

From our experiences with the ASD population, if you use minis, maps, or other visuals, you will need to adjust to the particulars of your group of individuals on a case by case basis, though there are some good rules of thumb we have found.

Some of those on the spectrum (or even not on the spectrum for younger players) will handle the extra stimuli well, others will definitely be distracted or wanting to fixate, but there area number of methods to reduce those issues.

The simplest, but provides less opportunity for skill development in this area, is simple removal and control of access.

We used to keep a lot of maps and posters on the walls, but with some individuals they ended up being too much distraction, so now we are more selective about when, what, and how many are on display as various stimuli.

Sometimes we just bring them out as needed as aides to the game in the moment, and put them away when not in use.

Other times we will block them temporarily from view (face down, behind a screen, etc.), and as a character asks to review the stimuli, once again reveal, further working on turn taking and delayed gratification.

For the miniatures, we follow somewhat of a Chess rule, they shouldn't be handling the miniature unless it is their turn to do so, and once they make their move, and take their finger off the mini, that move is committed.

For many populations of all ages and functioning, the miniatures definitely help to reduce confusion.

An important note, a population a lot of people forget about are those that don't actually imagine scenes through visualization, they use other senses for the immersive experience (thus the importance of including adjectives for all the senses whenever possible.

We've started including questions about participant "imagination styles" on our intake forms, and are finding somewhere around 1 in 10 or so (give or take a bit, we're in the early stages of trying to track this) of the general population we've facilitator for, state they cannot imagine using visual imagination, but use other senses for immersion.

When searching rooms, marching order, etc. having the minis to help them keep track in an actual visual format is extremely helpful to their experience. minis on a grid/hex battlemat they find MUCH more useful than tabs on a screen, whiteboard, or other location.

Having them laid out visually by order and location helps reduce their confusion considerably.

For those that can imagine visually, the minis seem to help them be further immersed, and have a more consistent experience of the events with their peers when quizzed weeks, months, or even years later (more consistent memories of events between participants).

I would like to perform an initial literature research study on existing research regarding what percentage of the general (non-gaming) population have been found to have non-visual imaginations.

Then further drill down to any in gaming formats.  If that doesn't exist, then I would like us to put together a study to further delve into this topic.

Meanwhile, we will slowly aggregate data from our own populations via their intake assessment forms.

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