Stereotypes and Individual Differences in Role-playing Games


  • Noiran Curran



Because of the endurance of stereotypes about role-playing gamers, much research has been carried out which provides evidence to contradict the stereotype’s prevailing misconceptions. This paper aims to investigate this existing research into the individual differences in those who play role-playing games and provide a comprehensive review of research in the areas of demographics, interests, personality and identity as they pertain to gamers. The goal will be to investigate the extent to which the common perception of game-players stands up under investigation. The paper will also attempt to refute some of the more extreme and outrageous claims which have been made in relation to role-playing games – particularly those which involve crime,
violence, murders, suicides and Satanism. The article will also examine child’s play and role-playing games in order to illustrate the importance of this style of imaginary play for identity development for both children and adults.

The stereotypical image of role-playing gamers depicts them as anti-social male teenagers who are largely more interested in technology than in their own personal appearance, believing that they are highly intelligent and imaginative, passionate about topics which are uninteresting to their peers, and consequently persecuted by some of these peers. Through an examination of the research carried out in this area, the emerging image of a gamer is in fact that of an individual who does not necessarily fit into the stereotypical demographic of being a young male, and who is actively involved in developing his or her own personality and identity through participation in the games and also within the social networks that are often framed by these games.




How to Cite

Curran, N. (2011). Stereotypes and Individual Differences in Role-playing Games. International Journal of Role-Playing, (2), 44–58.