Sexual role playing games online
For example, I found that role players-without conscious planning-make gestures and movements oriented to the fantasy they are acting out, and they easily and consistently speak as their characters would.The markers of time and place in their speech (words like "now" and "here") consistently refer to the imagined fantasy rather than the real world.
As you note, the real theme of this post is that most people in our society get drawn into various sorts of fantasies (books, sports, movies) that they more or less "pretend" are real.When I began researching role-playing games for my book Caught in Play, I read stories about players who had gone over the edge and had been swallowed up in the imaginary world of the game.I also heard such stories from many of the role-players I interviewed.This is all buffered by the stories the media chooses about people jumping from buildings because of a character's death.The rest of us likely wish to shed this perception, so we state emphatically how sane and different we are.We have probably underestimated the extent to which such play continues--in somewhat disguised forms--among healthy adults.
All that being said, there is surely much research waiting to be done on the topics you suggest, questions having to do with what sorts of people are drawn to various sorts of play, and the possible (positive and negative) effects of such play.
It creates the perfect storm of issues: for example you get someone in the under developed group I mentioned who is placed in a position of learning about human interaction through the eyes of a Sith in Star Wars.
Of course it will result in unusual perceptions of a situation out in the real world without experience enough to express these perceptions with a reality-ranger level of consideration.
And this ability is not only the basis for play, it is one of the fundamental cognitive capacities that makes human ways of life possible. Thus the only people who are allowed to say anything about any group are members of that group. Isn't that sort of destructive of the basic approach of science? I think it is likely clear that RPGs do not evoke mental health problems.
Of course, that's not to say outsiders might not miss something important. "Something is missing here" doesn't really advance the discussion. I am a clinical psychologist and a long time role-player. However, you do not actually seem to look at the rates of mental health problems in the RPG community nor at adaptive functioning (e.g. I use role-play as a therapy tool a few times per week to the benefit, not detriment, of clients.
In times of intense focus of the game, many role players express and feel the emotions that their imaginary characters would feel.