Loftus + Palmer

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  • Loftus + Palmer
    • General Aim
      • To investigate the effect of questioning on witness memory of a car accident
    • Research Method
      • both experiements were laboratory and independent measures design
      • Experiment 1: 45 ppts Experiment 2: 150
    • Experiment 1:
      • Aim:whether using different verbs to describe a collision between two cars would affect estimates of the speed of the crash
      • IV: wording of a critical question DV: the estimated speed (mph) given by participant
      • Procedure:
        • 1. All participants were shown the same 7 film clips of different traffic accidents which were originally made as part of a driver safety film.
          • 2. After each clip participants were given a questionnaire which asked them firstly to describe the accident and then answer a series of questions about the accident.
            • 3. There was one critical question in the questionnaire: “About how fast were the cars going when they hit each other?”
              • 4. One group was given this question while the other 4 groups were given the verbs “smashed’, ‘collided’, ‘contacted’ or ‘bumped’, instead of ‘hit’.
      • Results
        • Smashed: 40.8  Collided: 39.3  Bumped: 38.1         Hit: 34 Contacted: 31.8
    • Experiment 2:
      • Aim: to investigate whether the different speed estimates found in expt.1  were a result of distortion in memory.
      • Procedure
        • All participants were shown a one-minute film which contained a 4-second multiple car crash.
          • They were then given a questionnaire which asked them to describe the accident and answer a set of questions about the incident.
            • There was a critical question about speed:
              • One group was asked, “About how fast were the cars going when they smashed into each other?”
              • Another group was asked, “About how fast were the cars going when they hit each other?”– The third group did not have a question about vehicular speed.
              • One week later, all participants, without seeing the film again, completed another questionnaire about the accident
                • which contained the critical question: “Did you see any broken glass – Yes/No?”
      • Results
        • smashed (yes): 16, (no) 34
        • Hit (yes): 7, (no): 43
        • Control (yes) 6, (no) 44
    • Conclusion
      • The verb used in a question influences a participant’s response i.e. the way a question is phrased influences the answer given.
      • People are not very good at judging vehicular speed.
      • Misleading postevent information can distort an individual’s memory.


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