Sociology Index


Role Theory, Role Strain, Role Distancing, Role Convergence

Role playing occurs where an individual plays at or pretends to occupy the role of another. The concept of role playing is useful for understanding the socialization of children and in particular that stage during which they play at being mothers, fathers, doctors, or truck drivers. It is during this playing that they master the ability to engage in reflexive role-taking and thus to develop their own sense of self.

Kindness in the Kindergarten: The Relative Influence of Role Playing and Prosocial Television in Facilitating Altruism - Inge M. Ahammer, John P. Murray, Macquarie University. - The effectiveness of four training programs designed to foster altruism in preschool children. It was assumed that role taking skills would be a necessary and/or sufficient condition for altruistic behavior. Thus, training programs centering on cognitive perceptual and affective role taking (empathy) respectively were compared to programs in which altruistic behavior was either watched on TV or enacted (role played) by the children.

Children watching 'neutral' TV episodes, or experiencing a regular preschool program, served as controls. Training lasted for four weeks I h daily training. Altruism was significantly enhanced in the three role playing programs, whereas prosocial TV viewing - while less effective than the role play conditions was marginally superior to neutral TV viewing. Cognitive/perceptual role taking was clearly implicated in the enactment of altruistic behavior while the role of affective role taking was less consistent.

Role Playing As a Group Intervention - Rebecca J. Cabral, Wayne State University 
Role playing is an effective intervention technique that has been broadly adapted for use in academic research and applied settings. A classification scheme for organizing these diverse role-playing uses, in terms of intraindividual and intact group change, is presented. Furthermore, it is suggested that research and implementation of role playing would be best served by an interactional perspective.

Role Playing to Assess Social Competence - Ecological Validity Considerations 
J. Regis Mcnamara, Craig A. Blumer, Ohio University 
Role playing is increasingly being used as a method by which to assess social competence. Role playing has demonstrated its usefulness at reflecting differences between treatment and control groups in studies concerned with the modification of social competence and those attempting to differentiate levels of social competence in known groups. The ability of role plays to accurately represent more naturalistically occurring social behavior is less well established, however. Current evidence suggests that there is only modest correspondence between behavior in role play and naturalistic settings.

The effects of role playing on prosocial behavior in preschool children - Hamazaki T, Hiroshima University.
The purpose was to examine the effects of two types of role-playing experience on prosocial behavior in preschool children. In the Empathy role-playing (E), each pair of children enacted alternately a victim and an eyewitness using a glove puppet, in which the emphasis was only on empathizing with the victim. In the Empathy and Helping role-playing (EH), they enacted alternately a victim and a helper, in which the emphasis was on empathizing and helping a victim. In the Control role-playing (C), they played roles alternately of a customer and a salesman in a grocery store. All children were assessed as for helping and sharing behaviors for a real victim before and after the role playing session.

Human Communication Research - Volume 1 Issue 1 Page 62 - September 1974
The work of George Herbert Mead and Jean Piaget is stimulating interest among the social sciences in role-taking behavior as an intervening variable affecting human communication. This paper clarifies the concept of role-taking and distinguishes role-taking from related constructs with which it has been confused. It is shown, however, that clarification of role-taking requires serious consideration of the related concept of role-playing.

Use of Cigarettes and Alcohol by Preschoolers While Role-playing as Adults "Honey, Have Some Smokes" 
Madeline A. Dalton; Amy M. Bernhardt; Jennifer J. Gibson; James D. Sargent; Michael L. Beach; Anna M. Adachi-Mejia; Linda T. Titus-Ernstoff; Todd F. Heatherton - Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med. 2005;159:854-859. 
Objective To examine preschoolers’ attitudes, expectations, and perceptions of tobacco and alcohol use. 
Design: Structured observational study. Children used props and dolls to act out a social evening for adults. As part of the role playing, each child selected items from a miniature grocery store stocked with 73 different products, including beer, wine, and cigarettes, for an evening with friends. 
Patients: One hundred twenty children, 2 to 6 years old, participated individually in the role-playing. 
Main Outcome Measure: Whether or not a child purchased cigarettes or alcohol at the store. 

Live Action Role-Playing Games - Control, Communication, Storytelling, and MMORPG Similarities - Anders Tychsen, Michael Hitchens, Thea Brolund, Manolya Kavakli 
Live action role-playing games share a range of characteristics with massively multi-player online games (MMOGs). Because these games have existed for more than 20 years, players of these games have a substantial amount of experience in handling issues pertinent to MMOGs. Survey and review of live action role-playing games, whose participant count can be in the thousands, reveal that features such as size, theme, game master-to-player ratio, and others interact to form complex systems that require several different groups of control tools to manage.

Computer-Based Role-Playing for Interpersonal Skills Training,
Geralien A. Holsbrink-Engels 
This study examines the design and evaluation of computer-based role-playing. For novices, a conventional role-play is a very complex learning situation. Computer-based role-playing is designed to simplify role-playing so that students can more effectively develop interpersonal skills. It is a gradual lead-in to, not a replacement of, conventional role-playing. An experiment is reported in which 41 students participated. The students were randomly distributed over two groups. Two instructional programs were compared, one with and one without computer-based role-playing. One major finding is that computer-based role-playing enhances interpersonal skills development.

Voice and text: role playing with computers - S Yager, Department of English, Iowa State University
One way to encourage students to take part is literally to give them a part, a role to take on in the classroom. Over the past few semesters, I have turned to computers to do this, using the InterChange function of Daedalus, a networked synchronous communications program, for role playing exercises in medieval literature classes. In these classes, I have invited my students (mostly English majors at Iowa State, a public university of science and technology) to use role playing in order to explore the identities of Chaucer's Canterbury pilgrims. This project has persuaded me that synchronous communications in general, and on-line role playing in particular, can be a vital part of the medieval studies classroom.