The effects of positive affective priming on Māori mothers' attributions for children's misbehaviours and appropriate methods of discipline : a thesis submitted in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Arts in Psychology at Massey University, Wellington, New Zealand
This study is a test-retest experimental design which sets out to determine if Māori mothers, exposure to emotive (positive) photographs of Māori people (children interacting with adults) would influence their attributions and disciplinary responses for child misbehaviour in a positive direction. I also hypothesised that the exposure to Māori visual icons or objects might have a similar but lesser affect. The participants were a group of 48 mothers of Māori descent living in the Porirua and Wellington areas. I recruited by approaching the principal from a local primary school and my previous employer, by attending a parent group, and by using a snowballing strategy. Cultural identity was assessed using a "Lifestyle Questionnaire" and results showed that the majority of participants were well integrated into both Māori and mainstream New Zealand culture. Participants were randomly divided into four equal groups of 12 participants. Each group was shown different sets of photographs that served as the emotional primes (i.e., Māori people. non-Māori people, Māori objects and non-Māori objects). The two experiment groups viewed the Māori people or Māori objects photographs. Conversely, the two control groups viewed the non-Māori people or non-Māori objects photographs. The participants undertook a pre-testing exercise prior to viewing the photographs, followed by a post-testing exercise. The pre-testing and post-testing exercises consisted of parent-child scenarios based on child misbehaviours where the child could be blamed for the misbehaviour, and ambiguous behaviours where the child could not be clearly blamed for the misbehaviour. Participants used 4-point Likert scales to rate their causal attributions for the parent-child scenarios and their likely disciplinary responses. The data were statistically analysed using a mixed between-within subjects analysis of variance (ANOVA). Most of the results were not statistically significant, apart from two of the positive causal attributions. Child misbehaviour scenarios showed a significant main effect for pre-test and post-test scores, with all groups being more forgiving or excusing the child when clearly the child was to blame. Ambiguous behaviour scenarios showed a significant interaction between Māori and non-Māori groups' pre-test and post-test scores (i.e., Māori groups were more forgiving or excusing the child and non-Māori groups were less forgiving or excusing the child). The majority of participants' scores showed their disciplinary responses were less harsh at pre-test and post-test. The most likely responses were talking to their child, followed by child apologises and then telling off. The least likely responses were smacking; next in order were doing nothing and ignoring. This study provided some insight into Māori mothers' causal attributions and disciplinary responses. Recommendations for future research, limitations and positive features are presented.