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Can we create critical moments in violent games to counteract violence and promote behaviour change?

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The results of the project will support a bigger project proposal that seeks to enable (potential) perpetrators of hate-crimes to recognise and resist propaganda and challenge their own beliefs and actions. These are first, important, steps towards behavioural change among (potential) perpetrators and can lead to a decrease in extremist views and hate-crimes. If you want to think along with this project, please contact Radio La Benevolencija.

Critical moments should induce the player to take a different, more pro-social, course of action.

Critical moments in games

This project aims to research, understand and produce a model for the implementation of critical moments within the narrative of popular violent games.Those are small changes in the script of the game, which surprise the players, creating opportunities to react differently to a given situation. Critical moments should induce the player to take a different, more pro-social, course of action.

In face of the rise of reported hate-crimes, right-wing extremism and acts of terrorism in Europe and beyond, can new media be used as a tool to counteract violence and promote behaviour change?

Would that still be possible when targeting (potential) perpetrators? These are some of the questions that Radio La Benevolencija HTF, an NGO with over 12 years experience in the field of behavioural change media campaigns, have been busy with.

Terrorists and extremist groups have been frequently linked to using violent games as a platform for recruitment, training and communication, amongst others by the CIA and other intelligence agencies. A diversity of academic research also links violent behaviour to playing violent games. Intermediate psychological processes, such as dehumanization of

self as ‘targets’ and expecting hostile behaviour from others, can contribute to an increase in violent behaviour in gamers playing violent games. Exactly how games contribute to human behaviour is contested, but in the words of Kaufman and his colleagues: “the fact they exert some influence on people in some way is beyond question”.

Team members

geen foto
Cecilia Hendrikx
Summer Lab participant
George Weiss
George Weiss
Summer Lab participant


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