The science behind our Serious Games

Most of our games draw on the principle of inoculation theory for their theoretical justification. This is the classic social psychological theory of resistance to persuasion that explains how “an attitude or belief can be made resistant to attacks through pre-exposure to weakened forms of challenges” (McGuire, 1970). In practice, people are able to build up a resistance against false or misleading information by being presented with a weakened version of a misleading argument before being exposed to the “real” information. One can see this as giving people a kind of “vaccine”, where a weakened dose of a disease is applied to the body in order to create antibodies and will allow the body to better fight off a virus when it encounters it again. If you can recognise it, you can resist it. This is our vaccine against misleading information.

The brain is inside us all, so are all the psychological weaknesses

Backed by science

Research conducted in 2018 on the Bad News game by Dr. Jon Roozenbeek and Dr. Sander van der Linden with a study of 15000 people, showed it to increase “psychological resistance” to fake news. The study showed the perceived reliability of fake news before playing the game had reduced by an average of 21% after completing it. In addition, the researchers also found that those who registered as most susceptible to fake news headlines at the outset benefited most from the “inoculation”. Instead of telling people what to believe, our games were created to equip players with the skills necessary to identify, argue against, and prevent harmful misinformation from going viral.

Check out our inoculation based games below, or see what other recources are.

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