Rachel Kowert, PhD

Photo of Rachel Kowert

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Infographic CV

Infographic CV

Education

PhD in Psychology, 2014

The University of York, York, England

Dissertation: “Gaming in a Social World: Examining the Relationship between Social Competence and Online Video Game Involvement”, supervised by Dr. Julian Oldmeadow.

M.A. in Counseling Psychology, May 2008

Santa Clara University, Santa Clara, California

Dissertation: “Existentialist approach to Major Depressive Disorder, a Case Study”, supervised by Susie Herrick, MFT.

B.A. in Psychology, cum laude, May 2005

Supervised by Dr. W. J. Dowling.

Research Experience

Independent Research Consultant, 7.2016 - present

Self-Employed, Austin, Texas

Working as an independent research consultant for digital game research and design projects. This includes consulting on industry-led research projects as well as conducting independent (commissioned) research on behalf of companies and professional organizations.

Research Associate, 11.2012 – 10.2014

The University of Münster, Münster, Germany

Worked on the ERC-project “SOFOGA” (Social Foundations of Online Gaming) in the Department of Communication led by Prof. Dr. Thorsten Quandt. SOFOGA is the largest EU-funded games research project to date. My research primarily focused on examining the inter- and intra-personal social impact of prolonged online video game involvement. This included enlisting cross-sectional and longitudinal approaches to survey-based and experimental research designs within large data sets. Through the course of my work on SOFOGA, I gained experience with a range of advanced quantitative data analysis techniques, including moderated and mediated regression analyses and cross-lagged path analysis via structural equation modeling.

PhD Researcher, 9.2009 - 8.2013

The University of York, York, England

This research focused along two branches of inquiry: the cultural stereotype of online gamers and the relationship between social competence and online video game involvement. While the first highlighted the centrality of the negative social perceptions of online video game players, the second examined the validity of this perception through empirical assessments and targeted statistical analyses. This work included both survey-based and experimental research designs. Through the course of this PhD program, I gained a high level of proficiency with a range of quantitative data analysis techniques, including ANOVA, MANOVA, and hierarchical regression analyses. I successfully defended my PhD thesis in August 2013.

Research Assistant, 5.2005 – 12.2005

Held primary responsibility for the running of experiments in Dr. Dowling’s auditory perception lab. Daily tasks included participant recruitment, briefing and debriefing of the participants, and data management.

Teaching and Supervision

Utrecht Summer School, 8.2014

The University of Utrecht, Utrecht, Netherlands

Structured, designed, and implemented a 2-day methods workshop entitled “Empirical Research Methods and Design” in conjunction with Malte Elson for the Utrecht Summer School 2014 program. This workshop focused on the use and implementation of quantitative research methods in experimental and survey research design. Topics included sampling strageies and biases, online survey design, and best practices for developing and controlling experimental manipulations.

Graduate Seminar for SPICE, 7.2014

The University of Erfurt, Erfurt, Germany

Developed and administered a Masters level seminar at SPICE, the Summer Program in Communications in Erfurt, Germany. This aim of this entry level game studies seminar was to provide a theoretical and empirical overview of the links between online video game play, social currency (e.g., social relationships, social support), and social ability (e.g., social skills). Topics included social learning, offline and online friendships, online video game addiction, and online identities.

Postgraduate Teaching, 2009 - 2012

The University of York, York, England

Helped structure and design the content for several introductory tutorial groups within the Social, Personality, and Abnormal research strand. This included courses focused on persuasion and advertising, communication skills, neurochemistry, and electroconvulsive therapy. I was responsible for the instruction of 15 groups of 15 – 25 undergraduates in the associated modules, as well as the assessment of the associated essays and practical reports. During this time, I also served as the liaison between the postgraduate tutors and the staff for this module.

Undergraduate Project Supervision, 2010 – 2012

Supervised first year undergraduate research projects for the Social, Personality and Abnormal strand. This involved overseeing the research of six research groups of 5 – 8 individuals.

Clinical Work

Case Manager, 1.2008 - 6.2008

Momentum for Mental Health, San Jose, California

Supervised by Yvette Duarte, LMFT. Co-facilitated two psycho-educational groups, Dialectical Behavior Therapy and Money Management, and assisted in creating and facilitating a Creative Expressions therapy group. Responsible for case notes for individual clients and group therapy sessions.

 Publications

Books

Kowert, R., & Quandt, T. (2017). New perspectives on the social aspects of digital gaming: Multiplayer 2. New York: Routledge.

Kowert, R. (2016). A Parent’s Guide to Video Games. The essential guide to understanding how video games impact your child’s physical, social, and psychological well-being. North Charleston, SC: CreateSpace Indepedent Publishing Platform.

Kowert, R., & Quandt, T. (2016). The Video Game Debate: Unravelling the Physical, Social, and Psychological Effects of Video Games. New York: Routledge.

Kowert, R. (2015). Video Games and Social Competence. New York: Routledge.

Refereed Journal Articles

Kaye, L. K., Kowert, R., & Quinn, S. (2017). The role of social identity and online social capital on psychosocial outcomes in MMO players. Computers in Human Behavior, 74, 215 - 233.

Domahidi, E., Breuer, J., Kowert, R., Festl, R., & Quandt, T. (2016). A longitudinal analysis of gaming- and non-gaming-related friendships and social support among social online game players. Media Psychology.

Grooten, J., & Kowert, R. (2015). Going Beyond the Game: Development of gamer identities within societal discourse and virtual spaces. Loading…, 9(14), 70 - 87.

Bowman, N., Kowert, R., & Cohen, E. (2015). When the ball stops, the fun stops too: The impact of social inclusion on video game enjoyment. Computers in Human Behavior, 53, 131-139. doi: 10.1016/j.chb.2015.06.036

Breuer, J., Kowert, R., Festl., R., & Quandt, T. (2015). Sexist games = sexist gamers? A longitudinal study on the relationship between video game use and sexist attitudes. Cyberpsychology, Behavior, and Social Networking, 18(4), 197-202. doi: 10.1089/cyber.2014.0492

Kowert, R., Vogelgesang, J., Festl, R., & Quandt, T. (2015). Psychosocial causes and consequences of online video game play. Computers in Human Behavior, 45, 51 - 58. doi: 10.1016/j.chb.2014.11.074

Kowert, R., & Oldmeadow, J.A. (2014) Playing for social comfort: Online video game play as a social accommodator for the insecurely attached. Computers in Human Behavior. Advance online publication. doi: 10.1016/j.chb.2014.05.004

Kowert, R., Domahidi, E., Festl, R., & Quandt, T. (2014). Social gaming, lonely life? The impact of digital game play on adolescents’ social circles. Computers in Human Behavior, 36, 385 - 390. doi: 10.1016/j.chb.2014.04.003

Kowert, R., Domahidi, E., & Quandt, T. (2014). The Relationship between Online Video Game Involvement and Gaming-Related Friendships among Emotionally Sensitive Individuals. Cyberpsychology, Behavior, & Social Networking. 17(7), 447 - 453. doi: 10.1089/cyber.2013.0656

Kowert, R., Festl, R., & Quandt, T (2014). Unpopular, overweight, and socially inept: Reconsidering the stereotype of online gamers. Cyberpsychology, Behavior, & Social Networking, 17(3), 141-146. doi: 10.1089/cyber.2013.0118.

Kowert, R., & Oldmeadow, J.A. (2013). (A)Social reputation: Exploring the relationship between online video game involvement and social competence. Computers in Human Behavior, 29(4), 1872–1878. doi: 10.1016/j.chb.2013.03.003.

Oldmeadow, J.A., Quinn, S., & Kowert, R. (2013). Attachment style, social skills and Facebook usage amongst adults. Computers in Human Behavior, 29(3). 1142-1149. doi: 10.1016/j.chb.2012.10.006.

Kowert, R., Griffiths, M., & Oldmeadow, J.A. (2012). Geek or Chic? Emerging Stereotypes of Online Gamers. Bulletin of Science, Technology, and Society, 32(6), 471 – 479. doi: 10.1177/0270467612469078.

Book Chapters

Ferguson, C. J., Bowman, N. D., & Kowert, R. (in press). Is the link between games and aggression more about the player, less about the game? In P. Sturmey (Ed.), The Wiley handbook of violence and aggression. Volume 1: Definition, Conception, and Development. New York: Wiley.

Quandt, T., & Kowert, R. (2017). Multiplayer and beyond: Witnessing the evolution of gaming. In R. Kowert & T. Quandt (Eds.), New Perspectives on the Social Aspects of Digital Gaming: Multiplayer 2. New York: Routledge.

Kowert, R., Breuer, J., & Quandt, T. (2017). Women are from FarmVille, Men are from ViceCity: The cycle of exclusion and sexism in video game content and culture. In R. Kowert & T. Quandt (Eds.), New Perspectives on the Social Aspects of Digital Gaming: Multiplayer 2. New York: Routledge.

Kowert, R. (2017). Final Fantasy: Setting the Standard for RPGs. In R. Mejia, J. Banks, & A. Adams (Eds.), 100 Greatest Video Game Franchises. Lanham, Maryland, USA: Rowman & Littlefield.

Kowert, R. (2017). Kirby: The King of Consumption. In R. Mejia, J. Banks, & A. Adams (Eds.), 100 Greatest Video Game Characters. Lanham, Maryland, USA: Rowman & Littlefield.

Kowert, R. (2016). Social outcomes: Online game play, social currency, and social ability. In R. Kowert & T. Quandt (Eds.), The Video Game Debate: Unraveling the physical, social, and psychological effects of digital games. New York: Routledge.

Quandt, T., & Kowert, R. (2016). No black and white in video game land! Why we need to move beyond simple explanations in the video game debate. In R. Kowert & T. Quandt (Eds.), The Video Game Debate: Unraveling the physical, social, and psychological effects of digital games. New York: Routledge.

Kowert, R., Domahidi, E., & Quandt, T. (2016). Networking and Other Social Aspects of Technology Use: Past, Present, and Future Considerations. In M. Potenza, K. Faust, & D. Faust (Eds.), Oxford Handbook of Digital Technologies and Mental Health. Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press.

Bowman, N.D., Kowert, R., & Ferguson, C. J. (2015). The impact of video game play on human (and orc) creativity. In G. P. Green and J. C. Kaufman (Eds.), Video games and creativity (pp. 43 – 58). San Diego, CA: Academic Press.

Kowert, R. & Oldmeadow, J.A. (2014). “Party Animal or Dinner for One: Are Online Gamers Socially inept?”. In T. Quandt and S. Kroeger (Editors), multi.player-Social Aspects of Digital Gaming (p. 99 - 110). London: Routledge.

Conference Proceedings

Kowert, R. & Oldmeadow, J.A. (2012). The Stereotype of Online Gamers: New Characterization or Recycled Prototype? Nordic DiGRA: Games in Culture and Society conference proceedings. Tampere, Finland.

Kowert, R., & Oldmeadow, J.A. (2010). Geek or Chic: Perceptions of Online Gamers. Under the Mask 2010 Conference proceedings. Bedfordshire, England.

Other Publications

Kowert, R., & Quinn, S. (2017). ISGA Player Demographics Report. London, England: ISGA.

Kowert, R. (2017, February). What parents need to know about sexism, misogyny and harassment in online games.. Fangirl the Magazine.

Kowert, R. (2016, December). Smart Video Game Choices For Your Holiday Shopping List. Parent.co.

Martson, H. R., & Kowert, R. (2014, November). Understanding the Anglo-German use of digital technologies in the 21st century. Generations Review, 24(3), 17 – 24.

Cohen, E.L., & Kowert, R. (2014, May, 16). Look Up Exaggerates Damages of Social Media. Scientific American.

Kowert, R. (2014, February 27). The Gamer Identity Crisis: Towards a Reclamation. First Person Scholar.

Grants and Fellowships

  • Travel bursary (€1650) from the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD), 2014
  • International Student Bursary (£500) from the Department of Psychology (York), 2012

Invited Talks

Kowert, R. (2015, October). Online lives, offline consequences: Video games and sociability. Keynote presented at the Video game education and ethics summit of the Clash of Realities Conference. Cologne, Germany

Kowert, R. (2015, October). Exploring the Viability of Online Video Games as Socially Compensatory and Rehabilitative Spaces. Keynote presented at the Clash of Realities Conference. Cologne, Germany.

Kowert, R., & Elson, M. (2014, August). All that glitters: Gold standards for quantitative methods in digital games research. Keynote presented at the Utrecht Summer School. Utrecht, Netherlands.

Conference Presentations

Butt, M.A, de Wildt, L., Kowert, R., & Sandovar, A.M. (2017, July). Homo includens: Surveying DiGRA diversity. Paper accecpted for presentation at Gaming the systems: Towards a more inclusive DiGRA workshop. DiGRA 2017: Melbourne, Australia.

Kaye, L. K., Kowert, R., & Quinn, S. (2016, June). The role of social identity and online social capital on psychosocial outcomes in MMO players. Paper presented at the 21st Annual CyberPsychology, CyberTherapy, & Social Networking Conference. Dublin, Ireland.

Breuer, J., Bowman, N.D., Kieslich, K., Elson, M., Kowert, R., Kneer, J., Quandt, T., Lange, A., & Lange, R. (2016, June). Grand Theft Morals: The role of cultural differences and moral views for the evaluation of violent and sexual content in video games. Paper presented at ICA 2016 preconference: Just Games? Consider Games as More than Entertainment. Tokyo, Japan.

Bowman, N. D., Kowert, R., Breuer, J., Elson, M., Kieslich, K., Kneer, J., Quandt, T., Lange, A., & Lange, R. (2015, November). “It’s too dirty for me, so it’s too dirty for the kids”: A cross-comparison of German and US gamers’ differential reactions to an explicitly sexual or violent video game. Paper presented at the National Communication Association, Las Vegas, USA.

Breuer, J., Elson, M., Kieslich, K., Bowman, N., Kowert, R., Quandt, T., Lange, A., & Lange, R. (2015, September). Moral Kombat – Moral foundations and the evaluation of violent and sexual content in video games. Paper presented at the 9th Conference of the Media Psychology Division. Tübingen, Germany.

Kowert, R., Breuer, J., Festl., R., & Quandt, T. (2015, May). Women are from FarmVille, Men are from ViceCity: Exclusion and sexism in video game content and culture. Paper presented at ICA 2015: Communication Across the Life Span. San Juan, Puerto Rico.

Bowman, N. D., Kowert, R., Cohen, E. L. (2014, November). When the ball stops, the fun stops too: The impact of social inclusion on video game enjoyment. Paper presented at NCA 2014. Chicago, USA.

Kowert, R., Breuer, J., Festl, R., & Quandt, T. (2014, August). Sexism and the gender divide within the video game playing community. Paper presented at multi.player 2 conference. Münster, Germany.

Kowert, R., Domahidi, E., Festl, R., & Quandt, T. (2014, August). Socially displacing or augmenting? Evaluating the impact of social game play on adolescent players. Paper presented at multi.player 2 conference. Münster, Germany.

Kowert, R. (chair), Brown, A., Domahidi, E., Kuss, D., & Z. Hussain (2014, July). Evaluating the Impact of Online Video Game Play on Inter- and Intra-Personal Sociability. Symposium presented at the 28th International Congress of Applied Psychology Conference. Paris, France

Kowert, R., Vogelgesang, J., Festl, R., & Quandt, T. (2014, May). Psychosocial Causes and Consequences of Increased Online Video Game Involvement. Paper presented at ICA 2014: Communication and the ‘Good Life’. Seattle, USA.

Kowert, R., & Domahidi, E. (2014, May). Examining the Relationship between Online video Game Involvement and Gaming-related Friendships among Emotionally Sensitive Individuals. Paper presented at ICA 2014: Communication and the ‘Good Life’. Seattle, USA.

Domahidi, E., & Kowert, R. (2014, May). Examining the Impact of Gaming-Related Friendships on Social Capital among Social Online Game Players. Paper presented at ICA 2014: Communication and the ‘Good Life’. Seattle, USA.

Kowert, R., & Brown, A. (chairs), Bowman, N., Holopainen, J., & Pearce, C. (2013, August). Defragging the Methodology of Games Studies. Panel presented at DiGRA 2013: DeFragging Game Studies. Atlanta, Georgia.

Kowert, R. (2013, July). Video Game Involvement and Social Skills: A Systematic Review of the Literature. Paper presented at ICA 2013: Challenging Communication Research. London, England.

Kowert, R., & Oldmeadow, J.A. (2013, July). Seeking Social Comfort: The Social and Emotional Motivations Underlying Online Video Game Involvement. Paper presented at ICA 2013 preconference The Power of Play: Motivational Uses and Applications. London, England.

Kowert, R., & Oldmeadow, J.A. (2012, October). (A)social Reputation: Exploring the Relationship Between Game Involvement and Social Competence. Paper presented at ECREA 2012 Pre-Conference, Experiencing Digital Games: Use, Effects, & Culture of Gaming. Istanbul, Turkey.

Kowert, R., & Oldmeadow, J.A. (2011, July). “Party Animal or Dinner for One: Are Online Gamers Socially Inept?” Paper presented at the multi.player conference. The University of Hohenheim.

Kowert, R., & Oldmeadow, J.A. (2010, June). Geek or Chic: Perceptions of Online Gamers. Paper presented at Under the Mask 2010. Bedforshire, England.

Other Conference Participation

Session chair for “Identificiation, Friends, and Participation” panel at multi.player 2 conference (2014). Münster, Germany

Session chair for “Industry and Design” panel at multi.player 2 conference (2014). Münster, Germany

Session chair for “Tools for a Good (Research) Life: Advances in Game Studies Theory and Method” panel at ICA 2014: Commmunication and the ‘Good Life’. Seattle, USA.

Respondent for “Gender and Motivation” panel at ICA 2013 preconference: The Power of Play: Motivational Uses and Applications. London, England.

Selected Press and Media

Hernandez, S. (Interviewer), Kowert, R. (Interviewee). (2016, December 20). A Parent’s Guide to Video Games: How Games impact children. KXAN.

Ross, A. (2016, December 2). A Parent’s Guide to Video Games: Condensing ‘The Video Game Debate’. Massively Overpowered.

Brown, D. (Interviewer), Kowert, R. (Interviewee). (2015, December 13). Are Video Games Bad For The Players. Texas Standard (NPR).

Augustine, G. (Interviewer), Kowert, R. (Interviewee), & Krcmar, M. (Interviewee). (2015, November 22). The Good and Bad of Gaming. Kids Count Radio Show.

Campbell, C. (Interviewer), Kowert, R. (Interviewee). (2015, October 30). What is the truth about video games and the damage they may do. Polygon.

Gallaga, O. (Interviewer), Kowert, R. (Interviewee). (2015, October 19). Austin video-game researcher’s book opens up areas for debate. Austin American Statesman.

Singal, J. (2015, October 5). New Book Aims for a Smarter Conversation About Video Games and Behavior. New York Magazine, Science of Us.

Ross, A. (2015, September 30). “Exploring the Video Game Debate”: Modern Online Game Research. Massively Overpowered.

Totilo, S. (Interviewer), Kowert, R. (Interviewee), & Breuer, J. (Interviewee). (2015, April 17). What To Make Of A Study About Gaming And Sexism. Kotaku.

Ross, A. (Interviewer) & Kowert, R. (Interviewee). (2014, December 30). MMOs and gaming psychology, part two: Interview with a researcher. Massively.

Filipowich, M. (2014, November 21). Featured Scholar: Rachel Kowert. Good Games Writing.

Klébis, D. (Interviewer) & Kowert, R. (Interviewee). (2014, July 30). To Real To The Virtual: Positive and negative aspects of role playing games. Revista pré univesp.

Kowert, R. (2014, January 18). Geek Culture: Inside Gamer Stereotypes [Radio Broadcast]. In P. Phillips (Producer), Pop Culture Tonight. Phoenix, AZ: 1100 KFNX.

Current Board Positions

Leadership Roles

  • Re-developed (and currently maintain) Ludodemia, a database for games-related research
  • Co-founder of DiGRA Students
  • Co-chair of the Diversity Working Group, Digital Games Research Association (DiGRA), 2015 – present
  • Co-chair of multi.player 2 conference (Münster, Germany), August 2014
  • Student representative, Digital Games Research Association (DiGRA), 2011 – 2014
  • Strand representative for Social, Personality, and Abnormal teaching strand for the Department of Psychology at the University of York, 2011 - 2012
  • PhD Representative, Early Career Researchers Forum, 2010 – 2012
  • Welfare Tutor for Goodricke College at The University of York, 2010 – 2011

Reviewing Experience

  • Journal of Social Psychology, 2015 - present
  • Journal of Communication, 2015 - present
  • Media Psychology, 2015 - present
  • The Annual Symposium of Human Interaction on Play (CHI Play), 2015 - present
  • Cyberpsychology, Behavior, and Social Networking, 2014 - present
  • Cyberpsychology: Journal of Psychosocial Research on Cyberspace, 2014 - present
  • Sex Roles, 2013 – present
  • Journal of Gaming and Virtual Worlds, 2012 - present
  • International Communication Association (ICA) annual conference, 2013 - present
  • ICA annual pre-conference (Game Studies SIG), 2013 - present
  • European Communication Research and Education Association (ECREA) annual pre-conference (Game Studies SIG), 2012 - present
  • Nordic DiGRA: Games in Culture and Soceity, 2012

Professional Memberships