Empathy Skills and Compassion

Role-playing games are highly effective at building empathy skills and compassion in participants.

For empathy, we have observed significant improvements in empathy for those that play RPGs. We have had some pretty street hardened kids come in to some of these community programs. They had a lot of protective
body language, barely spoke, with ingrained frowns. They were pretty angry and insensitive to others. We have repatedly, and consistenly observed them rapidly thaw, begin smiling (sometimes in just 30-45 minutes), and begin showing behavior that indicated caring about the others. Usually those they they have never met before. They begin to quickly care about the fate of their characters, and the consequences of their decisions/actions.

I have a great recent anecdote about a player's character trying to save another character, that died only about an hour into their very first, and their very emotive reactions (in a good way). Also some supporting research: