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Immersion has a number of meanings in larp. It is usually taken to mean the act of "becoming" the character so that their emotions feel real and suspension of disbelief and role-playing becomes unnecessary. In some (mostly US) contexts it is used to refer to the 360 degree illusion.[1] This has been referred to as "outer" or "physical" immersion, contrasted with "inner", "psychological" or "character" immersion.[2] Some theorists also postulate a third sort of immersion, "narrative immersion", of belief in the story.[3] Because of these different definitions, some have argued that the term is useless.[4]

Lauri Lukka suggests that (character) immersion is a dissociative state, in which the player uses empathy and theory of mind to imagine the game setting through the eyes of the character.[5] This state can be strengthened by a supportive physical setting (e.g. the 360 degree illusion), and in the right circumstances, it can become self-reinforcing for limited periods of time. In less supportive physical settings, immersion requires self-suggestion.[6] Mike Pohjola stresses this self-suggestion element; immersion is the player "pretend[ing] to believe she is the character".[7]

The Manifesto of the Turku School‏‎ promoted (character) immersion as a goal of larp, and it is often seen as such by larpers.[8]

See also


  1. What does full immersion mean?, Last Hope Larp. Retrieved 5 February 2016.
  2. Nathan Hook, "A Social Psychology Study of Immersion Among Live Action Role-players". In Sarah Lynne Bowman and Aaron Vanek (eds), WyrdCon Companion 2012, p. 109.
  3. J. Tuomas Harviainen, "The multi-tier game immersion theory". In Morten Gade, Line Thorup, and Mikkel Sander (eds), As Larp Grows Up: Theory and Methods in Larp. Knudepunkt 2003.
  4. Matthijs Holter, "Stop saying “immersion”!" In Jesper Donnis, Morten Gade, Line Thorup (eds), Lifelike. Knudepunkt 2007, p. 19-23.
  5. Lauri Lukka, "The Psychology of Immersion: Individual Differences and Psychological Phenomena Relating to Immersion". In Jon Back (ed), The Cutting Edge of Nordic Larp, Knutpunkt 2014, p 85-86.
  6. Lukka (2014), p. 87.
  7. Mike Pohjola, "Autonomous Identities: Immersion as a Tool for Exploring, Empowering and Emancipating Identities". In Markus Montola and Jaakko Stenros (eds), Beyond Role and Play, Solmukohta 2004, p. 84.
  8. Hook (2012), p. 108.