Tiltfactor Receives NSF Grant

Lucia McGloin, The Dartmouth, October 8, 2014

A $1,134,208 grant from the National Science Foundation will help develop interactive narrative games to combat stereotype threat–students’ fear of confirming identity-based stereotypes–in science, technology, engineering and mathematics fields. Tiltfactor Laboratory researchers, who work to design and study games that promote social change, will spend three years researching game technology, developing students’ stories about classroom bias into a fictional game and testing the effect of their work.

Tiltfactor director Mary Flanagan and Melanie Green, a communications professor at the University at Buffalo, will lead the project, known as “An Interactive Narrative Technology for Classrooms in STEM.” The program will also run at SUNY-Buffalo, Tiltfactor postdoctoral researcher in psychology Geoff Kaufman said.

Students in introductory STEM classes will write fictional accounts of their academic and social experiences as part of the program, according to a Tiltfactor release.

In the proposed software, students control a character and lead it through a fictional life by making decisions at checkpoints throughout the game, Kaufman said. The game presents students with a general academic or social encounter and prompts them to respond to the situation.

Kaufman said that the team has not set a starting date or developed a specific plan, but he said that the “interactive narrative” format serves as a digital medium for students to craft their own stories.

During the project’s first year, developers will conduct basic research on interactive narrative technology, Kaufman said. The researchers will collect narratives from STEM students about stereotype bias in the classroom to include in the game, Kaufman said.


John Montgomery ’15, a Tiltfactor student researcher, said that interactive narrative helps students build empathy for each other.

Biology professor Roger Sloboda, who supported the project’s grant proposal in a letter, said that despite great interest in STEM fields among students entering undergraduate studies, students often do not complete STEM degrees. Sloboda said that integrating the game platform will improve the classroom environment for everyone, including traditionally underrepresented groups.

As students often underestimate their own abilities, physics professor Kristina Lynch said, the software would allow them to share their collective anxiety and therefore relieve some of it.

“It is valuable for students to understand that what they think is real may not be real,” Lynch said.

Lynch said that upper- and graduate-level students could use this technology to increase student awareness of their peers’ experiences.


At the end of the project, Tiltfactor will have a finished software platform that can be applied to various arenas where greater empathy or understanding is needed, Kaufman said.

Flanagan has previously developed two games, “Awkward Moment” and “Buffalo,” with funding from the National Science Foundation’s project, “Transforming STEM for Women and Girls: Reworking Stereotypes and Bias,” with additional assistance from the National Girls Collaborative Project.



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  • MekongDelta69

    All of us at AmRen are in the wrong field(s).

    Imagine for how much money we could shake down this Dictator, if only we were in the business of ‘studying’ social justice?!

    Oh wait – never mind… We possess that traditional trait called… integrity.

    Oh well…

    • connorhus

      Ya the lies would make us ill.

    • Oil Can Harry

      The p.c. weenies actually believe that a video game will make women and nonwhites equal to white men in STEM fields.

      A magic video game funded by the Magic Negro (using our taxes, of course).

      • The insanity knows no bounds.

      • Georgia Boy

        Ever notice that the self-appointed people out to fix “STEM” are hardly ever scientists and engineers themselves?

    • In all seriousness, we probably are in the wrong fields if we’re not into developing video games. That’s where the young man’s attention is focused these days; that’s where we can have some impact.

      Imagine a WN or race realist video game. Oh, how TPTB would froth at mouth…

  • propagandaoftruth

    I wonder if “Tiltfactor” or anyone involved in “Tiltfactor” were Obama donors?

    • me

      Don’t know. They sure are pedaling a crock of rancid owl sh*t, though. Cha-ching.

  • Truthseeker

    Of course the only place these games will be used is in the classroom. No one would ever play them voluntarily.

  • Adolf Verloc

    A group with an average IQ of 85 has a hard time making it in most STEM fields. Black STEM graduate students are overwhelmingly African foreign students. Those countries send their intellectual elite to the US.

    • me

      African countries have ‘intellectual elite’? Well shut my mouth and call me Mammy! What does one have to do in order to become an ‘intellectual elite’ in Africa? Wipe after using the toilet?

      • Oil Can Harry

        Africa has toilets now?

        • me

          Who said anything about toilets?

      • Adolf Verloc

        In all fairness, remember that the far right of the bell curve has a number of blacks, way fewer percentage-wise than whites, but some. These guys are in the top 1% or less of black IQ and can function perfectly well at an advanced degree level. In the oil industry, which is what I’m familiar with, there were quite a few black petroleum engineers and geoscientists. Every single one I worked with was a black African, not a black American.

        • me

          Okay, you’ve convinced me! They be jes like us! I’m so relieved! Let’s join hands and sing together, Koom Bye Ah! Sheeeet!

          • Adolf Verloc

            My point is that in a normal or Gaussian distribution of a population, which is what we have with IQ, there are a small number of people that can function at the advanced degree level in a STEM field. They are not just like us because mean black IQs are significantly lower than white IQs. Still, in a continent of a billion people, you are going to have a number of students with the ability to function at a Ph.D. level at elite universities.

        • Bill Moore

          Hello Adolph Verloc,

          I’ll grant you that a small percentage of Africans may have a normal IQ.

          However, their other African characteristics are still there. Crazy impromptu violence, racial hatred for Caucasians (racism), propensity for theft (a childish glee from stealing from others), and so forth.

          Those African characteristics are enough to make it impossible for the races to live together in harmony. The Africans have to go.

          Thank you,
          Bill Moore

        • A Krona to a Krispy Kreme says that almost off of them were of the Ibo tribe.

          • Kenner

            Safe bet. Some of the most productive Africans. They tried to breakaway from the rest of Nigeria [as Biafra] in the early seventies, and the globalists nearly obliterated them.

      • none of your business

        African “intellectual elites” have IQs of 95 to about 110, considered average and normal for Whites and some Asians. Someone posted a few years ago that the average IQ of black, both American and immigrant students at Harvard was 115, not even high enough to pass the electricians union entrance exam or get a B in Algebra 2 let alone calculus.
        It is true that they send the best to American universities. But when the average IQ in a country is 75, their geniuses have just normal IQs.

  • TruthBeTold

    Stereotype Threat.

    I still can’t believe anyone takes the idea seriously.

    • It’s amazing the lexicon of nonsense terms the left comes up with to justify black failure. I can’t imagine those constructing the Orwellian language actually believe it, though I have no doubt their sycophants do.

      • JohnEngelman

        Their problems are caused by white racism. Whites who deny this are white racists by definition.

        *sarcasm off*

        • Only a witch would deny the existence of witches, and racism has effectively become the new witchcraft in the developed West.

        • LHathaway

          Whites who don’t embrace this idea with a proper enough enthusiasm are the ones labeled the racists.

    • JohnEngelman

      I doubt if very many people really believe it. Nevertheless, many people feel virtuous saying it in public, and punishing those who publicly dispute it.

  • I saw a lot of these academic scams when a professor at the University of Texas at San Antonio. The prof gets a big ink blot on his/her resume. The university gets a lot of the money as overhead. Grad students get employed. And the professor doesn’t have to teach summers to keep their salary flowing.

    The prof does NOT get the full million dollars, but gets summer work and prestige. Nothing will ever come of the research either. It will collect dust as a report in the university library.

    • Rhialto

      This is a best case outcome.

      Also possible is the use of these “games” to waste White male students time; time that should be spent mastering academic material. It may also be used to dilute the amount of instruction presented in classes. As a special bonus for the Feminists, It may also increase the “guilt anxieties” of the White male students.

      Note that many of the female students will transfer into other areas: soft sciences, pre-law, education, etc.

  • Simonetta

    Designers of interactive educational software could help would-be STEM students by writing programs that guided students through each process of solving a math problem. This software should have voice recognition so that the student could tell the computer what they believe each step of solving a problem should be, and the computer would analyze what the student said and determine whether it is the correct approach at that point in process of solving a math problem. If not, then the program would gently guide the student into the correct approach.

    Basically we need software that acts like expensive, well-trained, individual tutors. Math is the one area that crashes STEM education. Most math education consists of one basic explanation of a concept, followed by one or two step-by-step walk-throughs of using that concept to solve example problems. Then the student is assigned a series of problems that the math teacher believes are similar to the example.

    The student’s final answers to this problem set are corrected as right or wrong. After a string of wrong answers, the student get frustrated and gives up. Expensive private tutors can guide the student into learning the math concepts needed to solve the problem set, but these resources are not available for most students.

    Another problem with attracting and keeping STEM students on the college level is that STEM careers pay next-to-nothing compared to the amount of study and training needed to prepare for them. And, despite the claims of business and industry, STEM jobs are in short supply and difficult to find, even for the top graduates.

    And, not to mention, businesses always prefer to hire millions of the best graduates from foreign universities on H-B1 visas because those people are locked into enduring any bad and exploitative employment conditions in order to retain these visas.

    • Rhialto

      This approach would have great merit for high school students learning algebra, mensuration, and basic geometry.

      On the other hand, if “.. one basic explanation of a concept, followed by one or two step-by-step walk-throughs of using that concept to solve example problems.” is not adequate for under graduate math courses, the student should transfer to a math non-intensive field.

      “… one basic explanation of a concept, followed by one or two step-by-step walk-throughs of using that concept to solve example problems. ” is all qualified students need. If they frustrated, they are capable of the appropriate self study.

      • none of your business

        You are right. The students who need a lot of time to grasp math concepts are just average. The bright ones get it right away.

    • none of your business

      I spent the last 12 years of my working life at a University of California. I was a clerk in the school of engineering. I noticed that the White men who got degrees in computer programming and engineering were never, never hired. The students who were hired were invariably Asian foreigners on student visas first, then Asian immigrants, and last and not too often
      Asian Americans. I knew one young Chinese man who got a job. He was an immigrant not yet a citizen. His Father purposely delayed citizenship because the Father knew that as a non citizen he would be more likely to be hired. We still keep in touch. He did not finish the citizenship process until he had 2 years experience.
      A STEM degree for a White American man is not much more use than a degree in
      folklore and multicultural theater.
      I wonder if Steve Jobs, being a White American man would get the financial backing today he got back in the 1970’s to set up apple. Gates had his family’s aristocratic connections for financial backing, but would he be accepted at one of the top 50 schools today? I wonder.
      I have a niece double degree in math and computer programming who spent 2 years looking for an entry level job. She finally got one, but it is 3 month contracts and she barely makes enough for rent and living expenses. Her car is the one her parents gave her. She is applying for grad schools in the hopes that another degree will enable her to get a decent job at a living wage. So much for affirmative action for White women in STEM jobs.

  • I wonder if GamerGate plays into this somehow.

    • See Jim Goad’s article I posted above. He doesn’t mention this in particular, but I do believe it’s relevant.

  • OS-Q

    You are in PARK, you can go NORTH, WEST, EAST
    ->Go south
    You can’t go SOUTH from here
    ->This game is racist

    You win with 599 out of 600 possible points

    • “Racism!” is the up, up, down, down, left, right, left, right of the modern era.

  • MBlanc46

    NSF. Does that mean I’m paying for this nonsense?

  • IstvanIN

    Am I reading this right, 1.2 million government grant to develop a computer game? Huh?

    • OS-Q

      Not even a good game either most likely.

      To compare: Wasteland 2 was funded by the developers promising a copy of each game to contributes, as well as bunch of other collectibles such as maps, badges, and figurines depending on how much each contributor pledged. The developers figured that they needed $900,000 + $100,000 of their own money to make it – they raised almost $3 million from nostalgic dorks like me. The game is complex and probably takes a good 50 hours to finish most of it. It’s a decent game, maybe not worth as much as I paid but I was happy to help them really.

      Another comparison is Dwarf Fortress, a free Roguelike (no graphics just ASCII symbols) which is basically the passion of Zach and Tarn Adams, an ex-math professor and his brother. The game is funded by donations, and is quite the cult classic for its hidden depths. Tarn Adams has made a decent livelihood off of it, and I think he deserves it for the absurd amount of detail, work, and LOVE he put into his game.

      Politically Correct types are cheap, they don’t like to spend their own money on their own stupid projects, and they know deep down that their cr*p doesn’t sell on the market.

      • OS-Q

        There’s also the “Octodad” series of games, in which the player is an Octopus pretending to be a human in a suit that barely manage most mundane tasks that a vertebrate with thumbs can easily do – while at the same time nobody notices an obvious Octopus in a suit. The game had a actual social point to show players what life is like with a hidden disability. The first game was free and the last game paid for itself and needed no government money.

  • Peter Connor

    Quack, quack…

  • StillModerated

    Mary Flanagan
    www maryflanagan com/search/feed
    Melanie Green
    www buffalo edu/cas/communication/faculty/green.html

    That’s if anybody is interested in whatever these 2 White leftist nitwits have to say.

    I see no point for the game anyway. Television routinely portrays blacks as clever detectives, fearless leaders, brilliant scientists, attentive fathers, etc. And the newspapers frequently tell us the opposite on COPS and Bait Car.

    Maybe the game should be about how Africans can win the Nobel Prize for astrophysics.

  • WR_the_realist

    Fortunately most Americans will continue to prefer playing Fallout.

  • We play Neverwinter Nights at home on the LAN I set up. I sometimes play as Ungingurz, a hobgoblin fighter-assassin. I had to play as a walking dreadnought, because everyone else wanted to play as some version of a spell-caster, which I normally do. They needed someone who was really good at bashing and slashing. He’s good for sneaking up on things, and then it is time for “great cleave” and devastating critical hits. The Black Blade of Disaster is his greatsword and is +15. Playing as him, I always take point. That way, I can also find and recover traps for later re-use.

    Ungingurz is about 6’7″, has dark red skin, long, straight black hair and big yellow tusks. I always develop really abusive characters playing NWN. The other players wanted a melee killer, so I produced the best one I could. I don’t always do everything perfectly, but I did rather well with Ungingurz, within the game’s limits.

    Some of Sayaka’s characters are drow, with coal-black skin and white hair, so nobody needs to tell us to create characters “of color”.

  • LHathaway

    In the UK white children appear to be on the bottom, academically. Asians score best. Blacks come in second. Mixed groups come in third. Whites are dead last.

    • JohnEngelman

      An assertion like that needs to be documented. The only way I can think of that it could possibly be true would be if the testing sample of white children is taken from the poorest whites.

      • LHathaway

        I read it. The graph that represented it was kind of shocking. I was thinking, “I wish I could cut-paste this” but I’m kinda a doofus, with lots of personal problems too. There will always be excuses for it. People of color in the UK are descended from the top 1%. The smartest Brits immigrated to the US, the smartest Brits died in WWI or II. Similar articles have been on AmRen before showing poor whites in the UK doing the worst academically. This article included all whites in the UK. Whites K -12 as a group average were on the bottom. East Asians (but perhaps this meant Indians/Pakistanis) on the top. Blacks a strong second. Whites dead last.

    • none of your business

      Is that Whites who attend the state schools and comprehensives or is it all Whites? One thing most Americans do not realize is that almost all middle class let alone upper class White UK children attend private school from pre school until they finish.

      • LHathaway

        It was for all of UK but your right this may have been tests of children only in public schools. One humorous thing to me. . is that these same articles have been on AmRem before (I did not read this one on AmRen) and in the past they were merely saying poor white children are falling behind the poor children of other races. So in previous articles they may have been trying to obfuscate the truth but this one admits that whites of all ages and all income brackets are academically behind, on the very bottom, actually.

        • superlloyd

          You’re making this up. No analysis ever has been done on income brackets and education levels in the UK for school age pupils. Secondly, only academic achievement at age 15 or 16 is analysed, namely the GCSE exams. As you can see in my previous post, whites easily outperform blacks (whether African or Caribbean).

          You’re correct that poor white boys – those on free school meals – underperform other ethnicities but they are a tiny sample of the whole white population.

          The one that’s obfuscating is you. Your bold assertions, without any proof, seem to me to be little more than barefaced lies and anti white BS.

          It’s humorous to me that black trolls like you always resort to lying. How pathetic.

  • Alexandra1973

    They would totally hate the way I play Sims 3. Delete any non-white Sims from my neighborhood (and use my MasterController mod to do occasional purges as the game generates and moves in new Sims) and mothers generally stay at home, though they can make money writing, painting, or gardening.

    I don’t feel oppressed.

  • none of your business

    Thanks for posting this. Amreners have posted this info before, that an African genius IQ is 100 to about 115. I think the reason Africa has never reached civilization is not the lack of geniuses, but the lack of normal IQ people. When there is no one to figure out how to build a second story or stairway a society will never advance beyond brush huts more primitive than the tree houses and forts built by White children.

  • none of your business

    I’d like to see the White statistics broken down into state (poor) and private (middle class) White students.