B4Development (B4D) – a Qatar 2022 legacy project launched by the Supreme Committee for Delivery & Legacy (SC) – recently hosted its latest Legacy Majlis event at Al Bidda Tower. The talk was attended by behavioural science experts who discussed the prevention of violent extremism.
The session, titled ‘Behavioural Science and Psychological Vaccine: Reducing Vulnerability to Extremist Recruitment Strategies’, focused on topics such as misinformation, polarisation, vaccine hesitancy, violent extremism and inoculation theory. This included discussions around the creation of psychological vaccine games like ‘Radicalise’, which was developed with the support of B4D.
“Psychological vaccine is an important tool to counter misinformation. This has proved effective in several areas, including the prevention of violent extremism,” said B4D Chairman, Dr Fadi Makki.
“The Radicalise game that we helped develop has been tested in several contexts and proved effective, as people who play the game were more likely to detect manipulative techniques. Recent results from applying the Radicalise game in the field have been very encouraging in that they replicated most aspects of the original test results.”
The session also included discussions around other domains of misinformation that lend themselves to inoculation like COVID-19, vaccines and political elections. Financial misinformation and multi-level marketing schemes were also discussed.
Notable attendees included Dr Leslie Alexander Pal, Founding Dean at Hamad Bin Khalifa University’s College of Public Policy; Salah Khaled, Director of the Doha Office for Gulf States and Yemen, and the UNESCO Representative to Qatar, Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Yemen; Sumaya Baqavi, Deputy Chief of Mission & Counsellor, Embassy of the Republic of Singapore to Qatar; Dr Jon Roozenbeek of the University of Cambridge; and Houriya Ahmed, Director of Policy Hub, CEO Office, Qatar Foundation.
“This session provided our attendees with valuable information around the new initiatives of behavioural science that have been developed in the prevention of violent extremism,” added Makki. “By sharing our research with various stakeholders, we develop important opportunities to reach more people that may be vulnerable to extremist recruitment strategies with psychological vaccine tools.”
Founded in 2016 by the SC as the Qatar Behavioural Insights Unit, and incubated in the Office of the Secretary General, B4D is the Middle East and North Africa region’s first behavioural insights and nudge unit. In 2019, B4D was officially incorporated as a foundation under the Qatar Financial Centre, with a broader mandate to promote and replicate its nudge work and model around the world.