Rachel Kowert

Rachel Kowert
Take This

PhD Psychology, MA Counseling Psychology

About

49
Publications
74,912
Reads
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1,183
Citations
Introduction
I am currently working as the Research Director of Take This, a non-profit organization that provides mental health information and resources to gaming communities and the gaming industry. I am also a science content creator, Psychgeist (www.youtube.com/psychgeist). I post new videos every Wednesday about the science of games. For more information about me and my research please visit www.rkowert.com
Additional affiliations
March 2019 - present
Take This
Position
  • Research Director
September 2010 - September 2013
The University of York
Position
  • PhD Student
Education
September 2009 - August 2013
The University of York
Field of study
  • Psychology
September 2006 - May 2008
Santa Clara University
Field of study
  • Counseling Psychology
September 2001 - May 2005
University of Texas at Dallas
Field of study
  • Psychology

Publications

Publications (49)
Technical Report
Full-text available
The online game Minecraft, owned by Microsoft, has amassed 141 million active users since it was launched in 2011. It is used in school communities, among friend groups and even has been employed by the U.N. Despite its ubiquity as an online space, little has been reported on how hate and harassment manifest in Minecraft, as well as how it performs...
Article
Full-text available
There is a wealth of research on the depiction and impact of mental health representations in traditional media; however, less is known about video games. As the dominant form of media in the 21st century, video games uniquely portray mental illness in traditional ways as well as in ways unique to video games, such as in-game mechanics (e.g., sanit...
Article
Full-text available
Parasocial relationships have traditionally been conceptualized as one-sided, non-reciprocal relationships with media figures. However, the proliferation of online media "microcelebrities" via live streaming has shifted the nature of parasocial relationship away from the classic one-sided relationship and towards a "one-and-a-half" sided relationsh...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
The current study will aim to elucidate the state of dark participation and toxic behavior in games by assessing the frequency of these behaviors in game spaces and assess the frequency of use and perception of effectiveness of reporting tools.
Conference Paper
Full-text available
Media content (e.g., television, film, video games) simultaneously reflect societal attitudes, beliefs, and priorities as well as actively shift cultural values based on the messages in the media we consume. These effects can range from cultivating new thoughts and ideas to reinforcing stereotypes. At the cultural level, mass produced messages (lik...
Article
Full-text available
With the advent of digital games came the advent of gamer cultures and identities. A "gamer" became a new social first for the group of individuals who played video games (primarily in arcades) in the late 1970's. Over time, however, gamer cultures have grown into what is largely discussed as "toxic cultures," and come to become more associated wit...
Article
Full-text available
Video games are often thought of as trite activities for younger generations. However, research in game studies over the last few decades have revealed that games can be valuable tools for growth and connection, particularly among older generations. Exploring the ways digital games can be used as tools for connection has gained increased attention...
Article
Full-text available
Video games are often thought of as trite activities for younger generations. However, research in game studies over the last few decades have revealed that games can be valuable tools for growth and connection, particularly among older generations. Exploring the ways digital games can be used as tools for connection has gained increased attention...
Chapter
This chapter provides an overview of the content contained within the volume and provides suggestions for future research.
Book
This book examines how video game mechanics and narratives can teach players skills associated with increased psychological well-being. It integrates research from psychology, education, ludology, media studies, and communication science to demonstrate how game play can teach skills that have long been associated with increased happiness and prolon...
Technical Report
Full-text available
The white paper explores video game workers’ experiences and challenges in the game development industry, taking a close look at how game development companies can mitigate negative impacts and cultivate healthy, productive employees who can make great games. This paper discusses specific industry trends that have negatively impacted the mental he...
Article
Full-text available
This article examines which bodies have access to participate in Digital Games Research Association (DiGRA) events, and to DiGRA as an organization. It is based on a survey (N=174), among subscribers to the DiGRA 'Gamesnetwork' mailing list. The survey included questions on age, gender, location and career level to gain insight into who is included...
Article
Full-text available
Rationale: Mental and behavioral health recovery includes concepts related not just to symptom improvement, but also to participating in activities that contribute to wellness and a meaningful life. Video game play can relieve stress and provide a way to connect, which may be especially important for military veterans. Objective: We examined how...
Chapter
Since their popularization, video games have developed a reputation for being antisocial spaces. However, this is somewhat contrary to the wealth of social opportunities and functions which contemporary gaming offers, as well as what much of the research in the area suggests. This chapter will outline the key claims and draw on research findings fr...
Poster
Full-text available
INTRODUCTION Despite efforts to transform mental health care for US veterans and service members, veterans continue to suffer from service-related mental health problems and high rates of suicide. Commercial forms of media such as social networking and video games have been shown to have mental health promoting aspects. This study sought insights o...
Article
Research on online gaming engagement and psychosocial outcomes is somewhat contradictory, which may be due to inconsistencies in outcome measures and conceptualization of gaming engagement. To add clarity to this, we explored these relationships using a number of different indictors of “engagement” Additionally, we examined the role of social ident...
Book
Expanding on the work in the volume Multiplayer, this new book explores several other areas related to social gaming in detail. The aim is to go beyond a typical "edited book" concept, and offer a very concise volume with several focal points that are most relevant for the current debate about multiplayer games, both in academia and society. As a r...
Article
Full-text available
Research examining online games often focuses on their potential to negatively impact players. One of the most common concerns is that playing online with others can displace offline relationships and, consequently, detrimentally affect one’s level of “offline” social support. However, there has been little empirical evidence supporting these causa...
Book
Over the last forty years, video games have transformed from a niche market to a multibillion-dollar industry. No longer limited to arcade parlors, video games are everywhere and are accessible at any time. Along with the popularization of video games has come a growing concern about their ability to transform those who play them into antisocial ki...
Conference Paper
Given the contradictory nature of the literature on the role of online gaming engagement on psychosocial outcomes, we specifically explored this issue in respect of a number of different indicators of “engagement”. Additionally, we examined the role of social identity and online social capital as potential factors relevant in link between online ga...
Chapter
Full-text available
The impact of video games on society has been debated for decades. In this chapter we examine the potential impact of video games, both violent and non- violent, on players’ creativity. We examine video games as a play activity that can foster creativity. We examine how the unique environment of video games makes them particularly well suited for f...
Article
Full-text available
What is a 'gamer'? And what does it mean to be a gamer today? This paper will address these questions through a theoretical discussion of the gamer identity in terms of its construction within society, both virtual and within offline communities. A multi-modal model of gamer identity will then be proposed that incorporates the relationships between...
Chapter
There is a growing concern as to the inter- and intra-personal impact of digital social technologies. These concerns have been particularly prominent when discussing online games, as they are not only social spaces, but playful ones as well. While the combination a social space within a playful environment can promote the formation of online friend...
Chapter
Full-text available
This chapter summarizes the debates discussed throughout the book and provides insight into the state of the research relating to the potential positive and negative influence of video games on the individual and society. The limitations of the research in this area are also discussed alongside the theoretical and methodological limitations of them...
Article
Full-text available
From the oversexualized characters in fighting games, such as Dead or Alive or Ninja Gaiden, to the overuse of the damsel in distress trope in popular titles, such as the Super Mario series, the under- and misrepresentation of females in video games has been well documented in several content analyses. Cultivation theory suggests that long-term exp...
Book
Despite their popularity, online video games have been met with suspicion by the popular media and academic community. In particular, there is a growing concern that online video game play may be associated with deficits in social functioning. Due to a lack of empirical consistency, the debate surrounding the potential impact of online video game p...
Book
Do video games cause violent, aggressive behavior? Can online games help us learn? When it comes to video games, these are often the types of questions raised by popular media, policy makers, scholars, and the general public. In this collection, international experts review the latest research findings in the field of digital game studies and weigh...
Article
Full-text available
The following article aims to provide an overview of age- ing and technology use within Germany. Although broad statistics are readily available from an EU perspective, little is known about the use of technology by the German population.
Article
Full-text available
Abstract Online gaming has become an activity associated with a highly specific, caricatured, and often negative image. This "stereotype" has permeated the collective consciousness, as online gamers have become common caricatures in popular media. A lack of comprehensive demographic inquiries into the online gaming population has made it difficult...
Article
Full-text available
Abstract Some researchers believe that online gaming spaces can be socially accommodating environments for socially inhibited individuals, such as the socially inept, socially anxious, or shy. Whilst previous research has examined, and found, significant links between these populations and online video game play, it remains unknown to what extent t...
Chapter
Full-text available
Interpersonal communication is the number one use of the Internet at home (Kraut et al., 1998). Video games have adapted to this trend with great success, as the popularity of online video games is on the rise (Wu, 2010). However, along with the success of online gaming has come a growing concern about the possible consequences of prolonged interac...
Article
Full-text available
The present study sought to examine the extent to which the cultural portrayal of online gamers, often in comical, caricatured, or sensational forms, has become transformed into sets of cognitive associations between the category and traits. A total of 342 participants completed an online survey in which they rated how applicable each of a list of...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
The stereotypical online gamer is a socially inept, reclusive, male, with an obsession for gaming. This characterization is shared with a number of other groups too, suggesting it reflects a set of behaviors and concerns common to a range of groups. This study examines the content of the stereotype of online gamers in relation to other similar grou...

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Projects

Projects (2)
Project
Veterans have high rates of PTSD, depression, and suicide, and have a hard time getting mental health care. This study will look at a potentially untapped resource for veterans: commercial video games. Previous studies show that veterans use some types of games for recreation and for distraction from PTSD symptoms. We want to learn more about how we can help veterans use more of the things games have to offer, like social interaction, without causing additional problems from too much play.