Kayla Mackie

Doctor of Clinical Psychology, (Psychology)
Study Completed: 2017
College of Humanities & Social Sciences


Thesis Title
Priming good parenting: Can positive affective priming influence fathers' causal attributions and consequent disciplinary responses for child misbehaviour?

Read article at Massey Research Online: MRO icon

Parenting is a complex and challenging undertaking for thousands of fathers in New Zealand every day. Increasingly, fathers are involved in direct decision-making around how to discipline their children in response to bad behaviour, and assessing how fathers understand the meaning of misbehaviour and subsequently discipline their children is an important undertaking for professionals. Affective priming is a cognitive technique that has been used to influence human decision-making in many diverse ways; however, it has not been directly applied to altering father's cognitions and subsequent behaviours during parent-child interactions. Ms Mackie investigated whether fathers as a group could be primed using images depicting both evolved and generalised fathering experiences. She found that complex colour images of fathers and children interacting produced a reliable priming effect. Changes in parenting cognitions and behaviours resulting from priming were present but unpredictable in direction and magnitude, and considered worth exploring further in future research.

Emeritus Professor Ian Evans
Associate Professor John Podd
Associate Professor Heather Kempton