The Self-perceived Effects of the Role-playing Hobby on Personal Development: A Survey Report




role-playing games, imagination, empathy, empathic intelligence, self-assessment, hobby communities, larp


This article is a survey report of a study conducted between 2010 and 2011 exploring the views of role-playing gamers on how the role-playing hobby has influenced their social and mental development. A socio-pedagogical concept of empathic intelligence was chosen as the theoretical framework based on which a survey questionnaire of nine groups of questions was built. The survey that included both multiple-choice questions and open questions was taken by 161 Finnish active role-players and statistically analyzed. A control group of 106 non-role-players was used to examine the role-players' selfassessment
of their own capabilities.

The study showed that the views of role-playing gamers on their hobby and themselves are
predominantly positive. The respondents reported that role-playing games had provided them with a good platform for experimenting with different personalities and social roles, and that they viewed the hobby as having improved various skills and traits such as creativity and imagination. The gender of the respondents was an important factor especially regarding the emotional responses evoked by the games, while the other variables played a minor role.

Role-players viewed themselves as more imaginative but less socially adept than the control group. A more active reading hobby was perceived by the role-players as well. The results of the study suggest that the role-playing gaming hobby provides a good platform for the
development of both personal and social skills, and that used correctly, role-playing games have the potential to be used to advance such development.




How to Cite

Meriläinen, M. (2012). The Self-perceived Effects of the Role-playing Hobby on Personal Development: A Survey Report. International Journal of Role-Playing, (3), 49–68.