Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: https://hdl.handle.net/10356/158147
Title: Investigating the neural mechanisms of recreational role-playing associated with the reduction of subclinical anxiety
Authors: Wong, Jason Kang Chiang
Keywords: Social sciences::Psychology::Affection and emotion
Social sciences::Psychology::Applied psychology
Issue Date: 2022
Publisher: Nanyang Technological University
Source: Wong, J. K. C. (2022). Investigating the neural mechanisms of recreational role-playing associated with the reduction of subclinical anxiety. Final Year Project (FYP), Nanyang Technological University, Singapore. https://hdl.handle.net/10356/158147
Abstract: Anxiety turns dysfunctional at sustained elevated levels. This is associated with deficits in prefrontal cortex emotional inhibitory systems. Psychodrama is an “action-oriented” intervention, where gained insight through practices of role-play and self-dramatisation attenuates anxiety effectively. However, it is unclear exactly which components of this practice are consequential in its beneficial effect. It is postulated that role-playing is one such key element of psychodrama, as it is through the adoption of alternative roles and perspectives which promote the discovery of novel insights. If found to be directly consequential, role-playing as a technique by itself also holds strong promise in its potential to extend its therapeutic benefits beyond clinical settings. This study thus sought to investigate the neural activations associated with recreational role-playing and subclinical anxiety, and if the former provided therapeutic benefits. 30 dyads were recruited to participate in four within-subjects conditions: (i) baseline, (ii) natural conversation, (iii) simple role-play, (iv) and role-reversal. Functional near-infrared spectroscopy was used to examine brain activity. Anxiety was significantly reduced in subjects after the experimental activities (t(59) = 2.894, p = 0.00266). Neural activity in the middle frontal gyrus (r = 0.396, p = 0.037) and pars triangularis (r = 0.543, p = 0.011) during natural conversation, while neural activity in the frontal eye fields (r = 0.399, p = 0.021) during simple role-play, were positively correlated with anxiety attenuation. However, no significant neural correlates of anxiety were observed, nor any significant differences in neural activity among different experimental conditions. This study provides promising preliminary evidence on the benefits of recreational role-play on subclinical anxiety, and insights into the less-researched field of the neurological mechanisms behind role-play.
URI: https://hdl.handle.net/10356/158147
Fulltext Permission: restricted
Fulltext Availability: With Fulltext
Appears in Collections:SSS Student Reports (FYP/IA/PA/PI)

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