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RESEARCH BLOG #4: Psychology of Role-Playing in Video Games

Gayomali summarizes findings that, according to Science Daily, the desire to play video games or interact in MMORPG worlds “lies somewhere beyond mere role playing; it’s an actual desire to find our ideal selves” (Gayomali). Gayomali states that “observing thousands of gamers playing everything from The Sims to World of Warcraft,” researchers from the University of Essex determined that this role-playing attraction extends “back to childhood, when we used our imaginations to project ourselves as all sorts of things: an athlete, a rock star, a superhero– the list goes on.” Video games allow players to “adopt pieces of their protagonist’s identity, giving [them] a glimpse of a life [they] would secretly like to lead” (Gayomali). Gaming research essentially shows that, according to Dr. Przybylski, leading researcher at University of Essex, “people were not running away from themselves” while engaging in role-playing games, “but running toward their ideals.” If this is the case, Gayomali believes that games should put increasing focus on “character development and narrative context”– which they seem to have done.


Gayomali, Chris. “Psychology: We Play Video Games to Chase our ‘Ideal Selves.” Time Tech. Time.com, 4 Aug. 2011. Web. 22 June. 2013.



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