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Higher Seminar in Statecraft and Strategic Communication | Thomas Nygren

Playing to Win against Disinformation: A digital game-based intervention to support online decision-making processes


The proliferation of misinformation in newsfeeds, through videos, images, and text, has created challenges for individuals in separating credible information from biased and false news (e.g. Breakstone et al., 2021; Nygren & Guath, 2022). Educational research has highlighted interventions that may promote people's ability to navigate misinformation (Axelsson et al., 2021; McGrew, 2020; Roozenbeek & van der Linden, 2019). However, there is a lack of research investigating how to best support citizens in navigating more subtle forms of misinformation, convincing AI-manipulated images, and deep fake videos (Ecker et al., 2022). In addition, the critical aspects of education, such as actively open-minded thinking, have not yet been investigated.

Our research aim is to investigate how a serious game can foster better media and information literacy and stimulate multiperspectivity and open-minded thinking among teenagers. In my talk, I will present a new serious game design and how this is linked to previous research on effective educational interventions that teach students to identify manipulative strategies (Axelsson et al., in review) and learn professional fact-checking (Nygren et al., 2021).

We aim to provide new insights into how education, with the support of digital resources, can contribute to young citizens gaining a more critical, constructive, and nuanced understanding of biased and false news about debated issues that are shared in the form of videos, images, and texts on social media. I will present some findings and the process to investigate the relationship between the design aspects of serious games and the challenge of successful gamification in education to support cognitive decision-making processes and safeguard democracy in a world of disinformation.



Professor in History and Civics Education at the Department of Education. My research interests focus on history and civics education, the digital impact on education, critical thinking and human rights education. My previous research, also conducted at Stanford University and Umeå University, has been published in books and journals. I am PI in the projects the News EvaluatorDigital Literacy Across Disciplines, and SEGA:D. EU expert on tackling disinformation and promoting digital literacy.


Register for the seminar here.

CSSC Research seminar