The Game of Faces. Teaching Empathy Through the Recognition of Facial Expressions

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Everyone plays the game of faces we just don’t see it as a game. But the game is there teaching empathy through our recognition of facial expressions. We categorize those faces in our mind to mean different emotions, thoughts, and feelings.

emotion-masks-The Game of Faces. Teaching Empathy Through the Recognition of Facial ExpressionsIn the popular series, the Game of Thrones, the Game of Faces is based on how well a person can use their understanding of empathy to make a convincing facsimile of a real person. Essentially role playing real life while including all of the emotional facial expressions and intonations.

While the fictitious Game of Faces is used to train assassins I am looking at it for use in a less illegal venture- teaching empathy.

Though we are born with the ability to be empathetic, it is an ability that can be honed like any learned behavior.

“The ability to imagine how someone else is feeling in a particular situation and respond with care.” is how the National Center for Infants, Toddlers and Families defines it.

Through games, Q & A’s, and leading by example people, especially children, can be taught how to understand, recognize, and react to other people’s feelings.

Some suggest teaching empathy through role playing games that deal with emotions and feelings. I would say that any game where a player has to decide what their character is doing based on how the character should feel is a good choice for increasing one’s skill.

In the Nerdarchy we talk about growing the tabletop hobby and introducing it people.

What better way to do that than training younger nerds how to role play better through practicing games that increase and broaden their understanding of role playing?

Recognition of Facial Expressions through the Game of Faces-

Detecting emotions through the Game of Faces is something we all do.

Some of us have this skill bordering on the level of the super natural while other people scratch their head and say, “They were upset? I couldn’t tell”.

Teaching empathy to others, especially children is easy. But like all skills it has to be practiced to achieve results.

Steps to play the game of faces:

First. Think of an emotion and imagine yourself feeling it. The face that you naturally make is a good start to begin the game.

 Second, Quiz the other people playing the game on what emotion they think you were expressing. Do this by having them write down what they think is the emotion you were feeling.

Third. Select the closest answer

After playing that for a while you can increase the difficulty by saying a few sentences and asking them to describe the different emotions that you would have felt through out the different sections of the story.

The Game of Faces. Teaching Empathy Through the Recognition of Facial ExpressionsFor young children this can be a great time for them to ask questions pertaining to facial expressions that they did not understand while playing the game of faces.

Practicing in the mirror and having the children do so as well is a great way to create a large group of facial expressions that are easily understood as the game is played.

The Game of Faces. Teaching Empathy Through the Recognition of Facial Expressions

Let me know what you think of this technique for teaching empathy.

Later I will talk about RPGs and other events and situations that can help with the recognition of facial expressions for what they really are to the observant empathic person, another form of communicating

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I would say my manner, skill sets, and subject knowledge are incongruous but they all seem to find a home under the umbrella term of nerd. I have a passion for studying science, religion, art, games, crafting, wine/beer-crafting, sustainable living, and green chemistry. I really enjoy gaming with friends and writing about my experiences as a nerd.

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