Extremism Research Intervention Studio

PERIL’s Intervention Studio designs, implements, tests, and scales up evidence-based, digital and media literacy intervention projects using narrative and animated video, visual media, and other tools, with a mission to “pre-bunk” disinformation and inoculating against propaganda.

Purpose Driven Media

The Boogaloo Ballad of Henry Graves

 In partnership with the Bertelsmann Foundation, PERIL created a 7-minute animated video on disinformation and anti-government extremism. This project is part of the non-partisan Bertelsmann Foundation’s democracy-strengthening work and tells the fictionalized story of a man who gets radicalized into a ‘boogaloo’ scene during the COVID-19 shutdown. The video launched in summer 2020 and was paired with an impact study of 250 participants, funded through an internal rapid response to COVID-19 research competition in AU’s School of Public Affairs. Click here to watch the video, and click below to learn more about the project and study.

After a series of of personal and professional setbacks throw Henry’s life into turmoil, Henry discovers the “Boogaloo” scene. This violent anti-government movement is preparing for a second American revolution, and it’s willing to start a war to get there.  The impact study, led by Dr. Cynthia Miller-Idriss and David Malet, will test whether a video-based intervention has an impact on the public’s understanding of anti-government extremism and public health misinformation related to COVID-19. Read more about this project in the press release.

Empirically Tested Outcomes

Attitudinal Inoculation

PERIL and partners at Jigsaw are producing groundbreaking research into the practice of attitudinal inoculation. This simple, video-based messaging is a hybrid of media-literacy and counterpropaganda, which empowers ordinary people to spot the red flags of manipulative persuasion used by extremist groups, conspiracy theories, and other varieties of disinformation. In just 30 seconds, viewers learn the tactics of rhetorical and emotional manipulation which can lead otherwise decent people to believe and behave in hateful and destructive ways. Click below to learn more about PERIL’s partnership and current work with Jigsaw.

PERIL and Jigsaw partnered to “explore technological approaches to addressing online radicalization and proliferation of misinformation” , starting with attitudinal innoculation, a technique to bolster resistance to manipulative messaging and propaganda. One inoculation test, cited in this article, was specific to male supremacy and white supremacy. Other projects with Jigsaw have focused on the form and mediums of messaging, including memes and video.