Informatics Seminar Series
Spring Quarter 2023

Friday, May 5, 2023

“Totally not radical, man: Games and extremism”

Rachel Kowert
Research Director
Take This

This talk will overview the ways in which digital games are being used as tools for propaganda dissemination, radicalization, recruitment, and mobilization of extremists and the underlying reasons as to why they have developed into so-called "cultural assets of influence." New data from a collaborative project by Take This, Middlebury, and Logically AI, funded by the Department of Homeland Security, will also be presented. The talk will conclude with suggestions for the future as well as considerations in and around research safety in this space.

Rachel Kowert, Ph.D is a research psychologist and the Research Director of Take This. She is a world-renowned researcher on the uses and effects of digital games, including their impact on physical, social, and psychological well-being. In her current work, she serves as one of the primary investigators on the first grant-funded project from the Department of Homeland Security about games and extremism. She has spoken about her work to thousands of people across the globe, including the United States Congress and United Nations. Recently, she founded her YouTube channel Psychgeist, which serves to bridge the gap between moral panic and scientific knowledge on a variety of psychology and game-related topics. To learn more about Rachel and her work, visit

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