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Rolaran
2008-01-25, 01:40 AM
Hello!

The class is Psychology 225, Group Dynamics and Intergroup Relations. Our first project is to perform "a social psychological analysis of the intergroup dynamics of a community group, work group, or team." I decided on a whim to ask the professor if I could perform the analysis on my D&D group. He gave permission- meaning for the next little while I can call D&D "study time". :smallbiggrin:

We're supposed to watch for the following things, and explain how they happen in the group.

1. Interdependence (e.g. Mages are squishy, fighters can't fly, and things get messy if nobody plays a cleric.)

2. Cohesion (Looking at why even evil characters are expected to restrict their backstabbing to non-party members.)

3. Intragroup communication (Thinking of looking at IC vs. OOC- "Why aren't you helping me fight off the cloaker?" "I don't know about it, I'm downstairs remember?")

4. Norms (How people are expected to behave- houserules etc.)

5. Roles (or, what's the R in RPG for?)

6. Leadership (the DM controls all... at least theoretically :smallwink: )

So, any comments?

Solo
2008-01-25, 01:46 AM
A greater sample size will be needed to create a representative sample population, which means you should attend at least thirty DnD sessions :smallbiggrin:

Chronicled
2008-01-25, 01:50 AM
I feel a sudden urge to switch my major to psych... are all your classes that fun?

RTGoodman
2008-01-25, 01:50 AM
We had to do a term project for my Modern Fantasy (Literature) class last Spring, and my friend Josh did his on our D&D group. I can give you one bit of advice, which apparently my friend didn't even think of:

When you try to describe what D&D is (since you should probably do that at some point), you can probably use the first page of the PHB as a source - it has basically everything you'd need to get the basic gist of the game across.

Jayabalard
2008-01-25, 01:53 AM
hmm... just my opinion: you should focus on the players' social interactions, not the characters'.

1. Interdependence: why the players are dependent on each other
2. Player cohesion: which can be completely independent of the cohesion of the characters.
3. Intragroup communication: Focus on the communication of the players, especially things that an outsider would not understand. Verbal shorthand, jargon, that sort of thing.
4. Norms: How players are expected to behave, cheating issues, how do you have to roll your dice, etc

and so on

Icewalker
2008-01-25, 02:15 AM
A note on leadership: you should look at who takes command of the group OOC and IC and why in the party. What kind of person (Based on the other parts) would organize and direct the group? What did that person decide to portray themselves as? Why isn't it the charismatic character? Why did the not-leader make a 'leader' charisma character? etc etc.

Yeah...psychology sounds like an interesting subject. Having about half my interest working towards the functions of the brain it is one I plan on looking into in college.

TheThan
2008-01-25, 02:26 AM
Hmm paying attention to each otherís reactions could skew your results, I suggest you do something inconspicuous like tape it. Set up a hidden camera and record your sessions. Then play them back and make notes. Then you can throw it up on youtube for all to see. :smallbiggrin:

horseboy
2008-01-25, 02:35 AM
I had a friend do this once. She had to go through and do interviews with each member of the group about why we did what we did and how we perceived others perceiving us, what we actually meant by certain jargon. Yeah, she had a lot of fun with it too.

loopy
2008-01-25, 03:38 AM
Is it weird that I now wish I could be studied by a Psychologist (in my natural D&D environment, of course). Maybe they could figure out a reason why I only ever play rogue-types and the cause for my (probably) unwholesome habitual lying (/bluff checks). Heh. :smallsmile:

Fhaolan
2008-01-25, 09:24 AM
Depending on the level of complexity required, you could break it into three sections.

Section 1) Player analysis: In this one you do all the communication/leadership/whatever of the RL people during the game.

Section 2) Character analysis: In this one you do the *exact* same thing, but with regards to the fictional characters that the players are controlling.

Section 3) Results: From the previous two sections, how much of the player is really in the character, personality-wise. How much is wish-fulfillment, how much is experimentation, etc.

If you had a *long* time to do this, you could do it as an analysis of behaviour modification. Since Role-Playing is a tool used in therapy, does playing RPGs also have similar, unintended, effects.

bbugg
2008-01-25, 09:33 AM
Sounds like fun! And I think a D&D session or two would be a great study - everyone knows that we geeks aren't always the most socialyl adept people...

I agree with Jayabalard though - be careful not to turn this into an analysis of how D&D works; be sure you keep it an analysis of how the players work (or don't work) together.

Some players will be good communicators while others will just sulk if they don't like things. Some will be leaders, others will not, that type of thing.

Telonius
2008-01-25, 10:28 AM
Hello!

The class is Psychology 225, Group Dynamics and Intergroup Relations. Our first project is to perform "a social psychological analysis of the intergroup dynamics of a community group, work group, or team." I decided on a whim to ask the professor if I could perform the analysis on my D&D group. He gave permission- meaning for the next little while I can call D&D "study time". :smallbiggrin:

We're supposed to watch for the following things, and explain how they happen in the group.

1. Interdependence (e.g. Mages are squishy, fighters can't fly, and things get messy if nobody plays a cleric.)

2. Cohesion (Looking at why even evil characters are expected to restrict their backstabbing to non-party members.)

3. Intragroup communication (Thinking of looking at IC vs. OOC- "Why aren't you helping me fight off the cloaker?" "I don't know about it, I'm downstairs remember?")

4. Norms (How people are expected to behave- houserules etc.)

5. Roles (or, what's the R in RPG for?)

6. Leadership (the DM controls all... at least theoretically :smallwink: )

So, any comments?

I will caution you from personal experience. A friend of mine tried to study our D&D group at the university as a semester project, and it ended in disaster. We met less frequently as the semester progressed, and the group needed time off to work on papers and such. So just when the Group Psychology student needed to be studying us, we weren't meeting. Poor girl got an F on the project, but there really wasn't much we could do to change anything.