Can Dungeons & Dragons help players develop social skills? – News and Events

03 July 2023


When fantasy tabletop role-playing game Dungeons and Dragons Featured on Netflix Sensation stranger thingsOnline searches for the game increased significantly.

Often associated with geeks and nerds, the game now attracts an estimated 50 million players worldwide, thanks to its inclusion in such a popular TV show.

Researchers at the University of South Australia are investigating the possibility of using tabletop role-playing games (TTRPGs) such as Dungeons and Dragons Promoting social development in people who are neurodivergent or living with a disability.

TTTRPGs are fantasy games, played in a fictional world using player-created characters.

In one of the most famous TTRPG – Dungeons and Dragons – Players often meet in person or online around a table to embark on perilous quests in search of treasure, fight deadly enemies or perform daring rescue missions.

One person plays the role of game master who is responsible for guiding the players through the story and is the main referee. Games can last from a few hours to stories of years.

A neurodiverse research team was assembled to undertake this task. a comprehensive review Existing academic literature surrounds the use of TTRPGs to promote social development in players.

The research is part of a collaboration between UniSA and the social gaming company mind at play To better understand how role-playing games can boost confidence and self-esteem in players to improve their mental well-being.

UniSA Gaming Specialist Dr Susanna Emery says the review’s findings suggest that this is an under-researched area that requires further investigation.

“We found that while the academic literature in this area focuses on the use of TTRPGs by therapists as a way to engage their clients, there is little data regarding players sharing their own experiences with these role-playing games. and we believe it is a critically missing voice,” she says.

“There is an important opportunity to pursue further research and investigate the field in more depth.”

However, Minds at Play, one of Australia’s leading social gaming companies that runs online TTRPG sessions, has seen the benefits perceptible.

The Sydney-based company runs online TTRPG sessions that provide a safe environment for neurodiverse players to gain positive social experiences.

Inspired by the positive results Minds at Play has seen among its players, UniSA partnered with the organization in 2022 to better understand how TTRPGs can help build social skills.

mind at play Ambassador of Wonder, Dwayne Fernandes, Says he’s seen a TTRPG-like effect Dungeons and Dragons To promote social development among sportspersons.

He adds, “Minds at Play has seen players who were initially socially isolated due to social interaction anxiety grow in confidence and actively participate in face-to-face social groups such as local libraries.” seek.”

“It shows how TTRPGs can empower individuals to overcome social barriers and develop meaningful relationships in real-life situations.”

Fernandes says the benefits of TTRPGs go far beyond social development, as the nature of games requires decision-making, negotiation and problem-solving abilities.

“Improved communication is an important outcome, as players learn to articulate their ideas, interact with others, and collaborate effectively,” he says.

“Further research on the benefits for neurodiverse individuals and people with disabilities playing TTRPG has the potential to improve the quality of life, social inclusion, and well-being of these individuals.”


media Contact: Melissa Keogh, UniSA Media Team M: +61 403 659 154 I:

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