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Brain Injury and Neuroscience


2013 - Using Role-playing Games To Assist Recovery of Traumatic Brain Injury Patients

Originally presented as a slide show presentation for Eastern Washington University class "Recreation Therapy for People with Disabilities". This video is a presentation on the hypothetical use of role-playing games to help a patient with Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) progress through various recovery stages. This includes Choose Your Own Adventure (CYOA), Computer-based RPG, Tabletop, and Live-action role-play (LARP).

This video is a presentation on the hypothetical use of role-playing games to help a patient with Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) progress through various recovery stages. This includes Choose Your Own Adventure (CYOA), Computer-based RPG, Tabletop, and Live-action role-play (LARP).

The video can be viewed here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BwD4fAZx_2w (RPG Research Youtube Channel,http://www.youtube.com/rpgresearch )


For more information, see the full article.


Presentation at WSTRA Conference - Role-Playing Games as Therapeutic Intervention Modality from Therapeutic Recreation Perspective


This session will provide background and research information about the effects of role-playing gaming in all forms upon participants. It will address the many inculcated concepts in popular culture regarding role-playing games and gamers, and present the existing relevant research.


All formats of role-playing gaming will be discussed, including Choose Your Own Adventure (CYOA) books, offline and online computer-based role-playing games, live-action role-playing (LARP), and tabletop role-playing games. This will include the potential benefits, and deficits, from participating in these various recreational activities.


The session will initially provide examples of each game format in a typical recreation setting, then proceed with the existing research using RPG for various educational and therapeutic interventions from other disciplines (psychiatry, psychology, education, sociology, cognitive, behavioral, etc.), then illustrate how the application of TR methodologies are an excellent fit for these activities as an intervention modality for many populations in group and individual settings.


For more information, see the full article.


RPGs and Neuroscience

Using Role-Playing Games to Enhance the Learning Process, from the Cognitive Neuropsychology Perspective


Abstract

The approaches discussed in this document can be applied to all RPG Formats in various ways, with different strengths and weaknesses presenting in each format: Tabletop, Live-Action (LARP), computer-based (including solo, multiplayer, augmented reality (AR), virtual reality (VR), etc.), or solo adventure books/modules. Ideally a mix of all 4 formats would likely have the most powerful effects. This document focuses primarily on the tabletop format of role-playing games, though not exclusively. A number of well research techniques that can be used to increase the likelihood of participants better encoding information into their memory, include the following considerations:

  1. Avoid divided attention situations, keeping distractions from the topic being studied to a minimum, to reduce the risk of various interference factors.
  2. Deep level processing (172), including using "why questions" to improve elaboration & distinctiveness (173). To further the elaboration, focus on the specific meaning of the concept, and try to relate it to prior knowledge reinforcing the interconnections to concepts that you have already learned (172).
  3. Distributed-practice / differential learning. Spread learning & retrieval/rehearsal trials out over time, rather than "mass learning" aka cramming. Address limitations of the processing of new information from Short Term Memory (STM) into Long Term Memory (LTM) process, considering chunking and other relevant issues, by having the study time broken up into shorter segments, with breaks in between, or topic shifts alternating, for a more distributed learning approach over time, rather than trying to cram (mass learning) in a very short time.
  4. Over-confidence, or inaccurate self-assessment of competency areas. Use techniques and/or technologies that provide more objective feedback on areas you are struggling with, and help direct more time in the areas needing more work, and less time in the areas actually already mastered.
  5. It is also critical to once again emphasize getting enough sleep, as well as sufficient exercise. All of the above is significantly inhibited by lack of sufficient sleep and exercise strongly promotes cognitive processes.


Read the full article.


Neuroscience of Learning and RPGs (excerpts)

by Hawke Robinson


These are brief excerpts from some of my papers on the neuroscience of learning and relevance to role-playing games. Complete versions are available to Patreon supporters, research staff and RPG.Education students.

Introductory Snippets From Cognitive Neuropsychology Perspective on Learning, & Relevance to Role-Playing Games


by W.A. Hawkes-Robinson, RPG Research.Revision: 20171129c Rev 20190512d

The approaches discussed in this document can be applied to all RPG Formats in various ways, with different strengths and weaknesses presenting in each format (as per the RPG Model):

  1. Tabletop (RPG / TRPG / TTRPG)
  2. Live-Action (LRPG & Larp)
  3. Electronic (ERPG) (including audio, computer-based solo, multiplayer, augmented reality (AR), virtual reality
  4. (VR), etc.)
  5. Hybrids (HRGP) (including solo adventure books/modules.

Ideally a mix of all 4 formats would likely have the most powerful effects. This document focuses primarily on the tabletop format of role-playing games, though not exclusively.


A number of well researched techniques that can be used to increase the likelihood of participants better encoding information into their memory, include the following considerations:

  1. Avoid + divided attention situations, keeping distractions from the topic being studied to a minimum, to reduce the risk of various interference factors.
  2. + Deep level processing (172), including using “why questions” to improve + elaboration & + distinctiveness (173).
  3. To further the elaboration, focus on the specific meaning of the concept, and try to relate it to prior knowledge reinforcing the interconnections to concepts that you have already learned (172).
  4. + Differential learning and + distributed practice. Spread learning & retrieval/rehearsal trials out over time, rather than “+ mass learning” aka cramming.
  5. Address limitations of the processing of new information from Short Term Memory (STM) into Long Term Memory (LTM) process, considering + chunking and other relevant issues, by having the study time broken up into shorter segments, with breaks in between, or topic shifts alternating, for a more distributed learning approach over time, rather than trying to cram (mass learning) in a very short time.
  6. Over-confidence, or + inaccurate self-assessment of competency areas. Use techniques and/or technologies that provide more objective feedback on areas you are struggling with, and help direct more time in the areas needing more work, and less time in the areas actually already mastered.
  7. It is also critical to once again emphasize getting enough sleep, as well as sufficient exercise. All of the above is significantly inhibited by lack of sufficient sleep and exercise strongly promotes cognitive processes.
  8. Also take into account various medications and other substances that can drastically alter cognitive functioning for many hours, days, weeks, or more.


Many students, especially older learners with families and careers, will very much relate to the challenges, when using learning techniques that are known to be less effective or actually ineffective such as: plain rehearsal (memorize by rote), plain mnemonics (without deeper level processing techniques applied), cramming, etc., versus what we know works much better, with a strong body of research supporting better techniques, but just “too little time” or energy to “do it right”.


From a cognitive-neuroscience perspective, if considering learning role-playing games, and also interestingly using role-playing games as a potential intervention modality to improve the learning process, the following might be the ideal approach for maximal effect:

...<additional details available in full version>...

...

I could keep elaborating much more, but you get the idea. Using this modality addresses achieving a much better + deep processing approach, with + rich mental imagery (though there are concerns about people with Aphantasia in this context, so using other senses besides sight is recommended), abundant + distinctive cues for + encoding and + retrieval, and pulls upon + existing knowledge, and The quest/goals/story-driven approach better enhances the likelihood that the information will be [[motivating&form.widgets.IDublinCore.title=learning in layers]. The quest/goals/story-driven approach better enhances the likelihood that the information will be [[motivating" title="Create missing content">+ learning in layers]. The quest/goals/story-driven approach better enhances the likelihood that the information will be [[motivating and interesting, and it uses the + narrative technique (182) to further enhance + associative knowledge for a complex series of information components.


The use of a character that that the learner can relate to, even just slightly, enhances the probability of the + self-reference effect furthering the + deep-level processing. The challenges to overcome within the game create + desirable difficulties, and simulate aspects of the + testing effect. (177)


In my previous presentations papers I have elaborated upon how + exploration of opportunities, according to Professor John Dattillo of Pennsylvania State, is an extremely powerful tool for enhancing the learning experience.

...<additional available in full version>...


The unusual imagery combinations provide some + distinctiveness, while the narrative, story/game-driven approach allows significant opportunities for + elaboration, + variety of cues, etc.


Especially tying it in with a character that somehow resonates for the learner personally, can greatly enhance the benefits shown from + self-reference effects (173).

... <additional available in full version>...


...may help with the inconsistent environmental effects of the + encoding-specificity-principle (174), by providing, in the learner's imagination at least, a more consistent environment for them to encode and recall the information, regardless of the actual physical environmental differences between studying at home and taking the test in the classroom.

...<additional available in full version>...


This would (verbally, in the case of tabletop RPG) include + rich multi-sensory descriptions and some interesting cognitive puzzles or riddles as games-within-the-game. This approach greatly increases the variety of cues (visual, auditory, olfactory, tactile, gustatory, etc.) available for each person to personally connect with, and also addresses anyone with "Aphantasia" that might not benefit as much from purely “mental image” approaches.

...<additional available in full version>...


...All of the above is something I have often done in teaching thousands of others over the decades in multiple industries and settings, and it has been amazingly effective for those participants.


References

  1. Dattilo, J. Positive Psychology and Leisure Education. A Balanced and Systematic Service Delivery Model. (2015). Vol XLIX, No. 2. pp. 148-165. Therapeutic Recreation Journal.
  2. Matlin, M. W. Cognition. 8 th Edition. (2013). Wiley & Sons. Hoboken, NJ.
  3. https://www.academia.edu/s/356322a2b7/using-role-playing-games-to-enhance-the-learning-process-from-the-cognitive-neuropsychology-perspective?source=link
  4. RPG Research. http://www2.rpgresearch.com/documents/primary/list/sorted-by-discipline/education Viewed November 29 th , 2017.



See the RPG Research Knowledgebase 4.0 for more information.




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