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    Parental intention to support the use of computerized cognitive training for children with genetic neurodevelopmental disorders
    (Frontiers Media, 2018-10-24) Robb, Nigel; Northridge, James; Politis, Yurgos; Zhang, Bo; FP7 People: Marie-Curie Actions
    Children with genetic neurodevelopmental disorders (NDDs) such as Down syndrome, Prader-Willi syndrome, and Fragile X syndrome may show a range of cognitive impairments, including impairments in executive functioning (EF). EF are related to general intelligence, academic achievement, and literacy and mathematical skills. EF deficits are linked to a variety of clinically and socially important behaviours. Therefore, methods for improving EF in children with NDDs could be beneficial. One method for improving EFs is through cognitive training. Research on commercial brain training programmes and video games suggests that EF can be improved through training, both in healthy adults and in children with NDDs. Computerised cognitive training (CCT) therefore represents a potentially viable intervention for children with NDDs. For training to be effective, it is important that an appropriate regimen is followed. Since children are likely to engage with training at home, the intentions of their parents to support them are therefore important. However, no research has investigated the attitudes of parents of children with NDDs to CCT. To address this, we developed a questionnaire based on the theory of planned behaviour, which states that a person’s intention to engage in a behaviour is predicted by (1) their attitude toward the behaviour, (2) their perception of subjective norms regarding the behaviour (i.e., perceived social pressure), and (3) their perceived control over the behaviour. The questionnaire was completed by parents of children with NDDs; 58 unique responses were retained for analyses. Parents reported low levels of knowledge of CCTs, and low levels of experience with CCTs (both their own experience and their child’s experience). However, our results also show that parents of children with NDDs have positive beliefs about the potential of CCT to benefit their children and intend to support the use of CCT by their children. Linear modelling showed that, of the three constructs of the theory of planned behaviour, only attitudes significantly predicted intention. Finally, parents’ beliefs about the benefits of CCT correlated positively with positive attitudes towards such training. We also found limited evidence that parents of boys have more positive attitudes regarding CCT than parents of girls.
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    Helping them along: Astroturf, public opinion, and Nixon's Vietnam War
    (Univerity of Nottingham; University of Birmingham, 2015-11) Thelen, Sarah J.
    With the successful mobilisation of the Silent Majority in November 1969, President Richard Nixon and his aides embarked on an ambitious attempt to reshape domestic public opinion on the Vietnam War. Utilising internal White House documents, this article explores the way in which these projects combined grassroots activism and Administration-coordinated astroturf campaigns to rally supporters. The successful creation of Americans for Winning the Peace marked the apex of these efforts, but this article demonstrates that unexpected costs let to the quick return to less elaborate, but still carefully coordinated, appeals to special interest groups by 1971.
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    (Re-)designing higher education curricula in times of systemic dysfunction: a responsible research and innovation perspective
    (Springer Verlag, 2017-11) Tassone, Valentina C.; O'Mahony, Catherine; McKenna, Emma; Eppink, Hansje J.; Wals, Arjen E. J.; Horizon 2020
    There is an urgent need to address the grand sustainability challenges of our time, and to explore new and more responsible ways of operating, researching, and innovating that enable society to respond to these challenges. The emergent Responsible Research and Innovation (RRI) policy agenda can act as a catalyst towards the development of new and more responsible research and innovation efforts. Inevitably, higher education needs to be closely attuned to this need and agenda, by preparing students to engage in RRI efforts. This paper makes a first step towards guiding the embedding of RRI within higher education. It does so by bringing together academic knowledge with phronesis or practical knowledge about what should be done in an ethical, political, and practical sense. It draws on a literature review and on the reflective practices of partners in the European Commission funded project EnRRICH (Enhancing Responsible Research and Innovation through Curricula in Higher Education), as well as on interviews and case studies gathered as part of the project. The paper suggests elements, especially design principles and a competence framework, for (re)designing curricula and pedagogies to equip higher education students to be and to become responsible actors, researchers, and innovators in a complex world, and to address grand sustainability challenges. In addition, this paper proposes that contemporary higher education teaching and learning policies and strategies, especially those promoting neoliberal agendas and marketized practices, need to adopt a more responsible and responsive ethos to foster the renewal of higher education in times of systemic dysfunction.