Evidence-based learning

Under Pressure is based on the latest academic findings in the field of disinformation and behavioural psychology.

Serious gaming is a powerful intervention in changing attitudes towards (social) media behaviour. We’ve developed the Under Pressure disinformation game based on the latest academic findings of the Cambridge University Social Decision Making Lab.



Bad News

The best way to learn about the inner workings of disinformation, is to spread some yourself. To achieve this, DROG developed the Bad News game in cooperation with the University of Cambridge Social Decision Making Lab in 2018. In the game you are invited to step into the shoes of a disinformation tycoon. You are at the head of your own disinformation empire, in which you have to mislead unsuspecting Twitter users and gather as many followers as you can.


Playing the game works as a psychological vaccine: by being exposed to a weakened version of misleading and manipulative techniques, you build up psychological resistance. By injecting the player with the disinformation virus, they build mental antibodies, making them less vulnerable to manipulation if they encounter this in real life. We call this pre-bunking, because this allows us to intervene before disinformation is believed instead of afterwards.

Serious gaming can increase your ability to spot fake news!

That playing a game actually helps in building up antibodies, is confirmed by research at the University of Cambridge. The results of the pre- and post-game survey amongst players, shows that after playing Bad News people’s ability to spot possible disinformation improved significantly.


Evidence-based serious gaming

We’ve translated these academic findings into an educational programme. Taking Bad News as a starting point, we’ve developed Under Pressure. An evidence-based serious game, specially adapted for use in the classroom: students play the game against each other on their phone, while highscores and live updates appear on the Smart Board.


To make sure that the Under Pressure game achieves the same desired outcome as Bad News, it is closely monitored by dr. Thomas Nygren from Uppsala University, one of the core partners of the project. After reviewing the method, new findings will be implemented, to optimize the programme and allow for the best possible results.


One of the key elements of the programme is the theory of change, through which we challenge young people to reexamine their views on disinformation, journalism and democratic values.

Read more about the preliminary findings of Under Pressure in this blog post!