Can games, whether they be video-games or role-playing games, be used to assist in practices of psychology?
As mentioned, role playing has been used as a therapy tool, well, from what I recall as long as Psychotherapy has existed. It's one of the major tools for child therapy (playing with dolls and seeing what stuations they describe or talk to you about.)
Can gamers (read: "nerds"), whom normally cannot express themselves to non-gamers in a manner that "normal" people can understand, use their passions to successfully portray their mind-sets, emotional connections, and mental capacity to psychologists and psychiatrists, so that they can interpret gamers' minds.
This is an entirely separate issue. It really has nothing to do with gamers, but with issues revolving around communication and social interaction. Being a gamer really has nothing to do with it. (The only way it could is if you argued lower levels of social interaction as someone grew up, but again, that's not directly 'the result / fault' of being a gamer. The same could be true if they were into comics, or collecting bugs.)
Different people are different people, gaming or not. You can’t say “being a gamer” makes them all the same. You can put 20 gamers in a room together and I’d be surprised if more than a few of them played exactly the same kinds of games and, at the same time, ignored exactly the same other kinds of games. Almost always you’ll find they play different kinds of game, and different aspects of the games appeal to them in different ways. (As example, I like most RPGs, but not all, some MMOGs, but not all, first and third person shooters, but only if the are 'not realistic', and some kind of console games. I've NEVER found any other gamers with exactly the same interests in terms of games as me.
As a side note, if I’m not mistaken any kind of ‘creative person’ (as example, artist) can commonly have difficulty expressing themselves to others or interacting in a social environment. It’s just part of being creative for some reason.
This is largely a product of my own disappointments and struggles to express myself to others, namely my family and close friends. I truely wish that I had more opportunities in the past for someone to help me with this; as such, I would like to pioneer or advance the use of games in psychology to help others like myself.
As others have said, you shouldn’t be discouraged, but there has already been TONS of research done on it. Lots of therapy people have recommended gaming, overall, and MMOGs in specific, to people with social disorders, phobia, etc. I know back in the day one of the ones that made bigger news was a specifically created software that used the virtual reality helmets to help people with things like height phobia. I myself used to jump/run away when I saw spiders. Now, after roughly 13 years of seeing lots of them in MMOGs, I can often be just fine with getting a paper and cup and scooping them up and putting them safe and sound outside where they aren't near me. (Only about 1% of them still make me go 'eeeeeeaahhh', but still, it's not like it used to be.)
If you follow the research you can find out lots of stuff people have done work on. the Daedalus project
might be somewhere you want to start.
However, be aware you are a VERY long way off from doing your own research and work. You’ll need at a minimum a Masters, and more likely a Doctorate, AND you’ll need to attach yourself to an established researcher before anyone will give you serious consideration for publication.
Also, be aware that working on your own theories and work takes a lot of creativity, freedom, and you really have to be in ‘the right space’ to do so mentally. I’ve had a theory of motivation that I’ve wanted to work on and present officially for more than 15 years now, but I’ve rarely been in a good enough space to do any kind of formalized thinking and organizing of the thoughts, let alone any kind of document that would be … solid(?) enough to present to other researchers to get some kind of cooperation in terms of proving or disproving my theories.
Note that getting accepted at the Masters level may be more difficult than you think. Most colleges require AT LEAST a 3.5 GPA to accept you, and some are even higher. I got lucky being accepted to a Sociology Masters with less (I’m what they call a “social psychologist”, someone who believes that both play an equal part in personality and motivation), but with “only” a 2.9875 Masters level GPA I’m apparently too dumb to continue in a masters and was kicked out of the program. Years later I still have yet to figure out how to get back in and try again. (They keep running me in circles as to who to talk to.)
Please express your thoughts, criticisms, or other ideas about this. Do you support this? Do you think it is possible?
It’s very possible as a topic, yes. But be aware you are looking at somewhere around 25 years from now before you can get any serious work done on it. You’ll first need to complete a doctorate, establish yourself as a researcher, and then do work in research proving/disproving your theories. Being a researcher is a very long and formalized process. You may find, as I did, that Ivory Tower becomes more and more exclusive as you learn more and more about it. Once upon a time I wanted to research, but I quickly found I had no interest in being part of the membership in that tower. I'm perfectly content staying out of it.
To use your own words of ‘being a gamer and expressing it in terms gamers would understand’, you may think you have the most awesome idea for a game, but being at the start of your studies you are a very long way off. You first would have to learn the basics of the gaming industry, get in to the industry, make enough of a name for yourself to start a company, have enough trust from a bank to get millions in loans, establish a solid development studio, then produce the game.
It’s a long long way off. And again, there are lots ‘ahead of you’ already that, as a researcher, you’ll be required to follow and reference along the way.
I wonder what our choice of character to play says about us?
Lots. The Bartle Test is just the tip of the iceberg.http://gamification.org/wiki/Personality_Types
Agreed. I'm still working out the kinks of my thought process, but I think I'm starting to get a better grasp on it.
Again, you are a long long way off from being in practice, let alone doing your own research. (Though being a researcher is like picking your top-tier talents, you really need to pick your end-game early on as it will tweak what classes you take along the way.)
Your first few years of Psychology really won’t teach you anything outside of ‘do I really like Psychology and find it interesting enough to continue or not’. The second two years (basically the difference between what the Associates and the Bachelors gets you) still really only teaches you the basics of what different aspects of psychology are in terms of research, treatment, etc. It gives you a better idea of where you want to go and what you may want to do with it. So, somewhere in your 3rd-4th year you’ll get a more solid grasp on what you want and ‘the reality’ of doing that as a job. It’s not until your Masters and beyond that you’ll start to interact with people and see things first hand, as it were, with internships and such.
Speaking as someone who got stopped really before I’d gotten into my Masters, I wish you luck. I really do. My Associates and Bachelors have done jack squat in terms of ‘proving to anyone’ that I’d be good in a job dealing with people, social connections, or psychological analysis. Yes, there are other directions I can go with my Bachelors (human resources, as an example), but it’s not really the direction I’d planned. And while I have a reasonably solid grasp on my theory of motivation (last time I was in a balanced enough state in life to type it out it was about 35 pages) I’m still no closer to official publication of it than I was back 12 years ago when I started college.
Again, there are places you can look around at what’s been done already. I know it’s not ‘your theory’, but it may be enough to give you some ideas on what you want to do, or where you need to go.
Me, I guess I just have to be happy with trying to put my life back together and rambling about my thoughts about psychology and sociology as it relates to gaming in my podcast; rabb1t’s ramblings