Loftus & Palmer

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  • Loftus & Palmer
    • Aim
      • To investigate the effect of leading questions on eye witness's accounts of a car crash.
      • To investigate how information supplied after an event affects a witness's memory for that event.
    • Background
      • Eye witness accounts tend to be very influential in court.
      • The Devlin committee in 1973 recommended that juries shouldn't make convictions based on eye witness accounts alone.
    • Procedure
      • Experiment 2
        • Participants watched a one minute film clip which contained a 4 second scene of a multiple car accident.
        • Then asked a critical question with three conditions. How fast were the cars going when they hit/smashed each other? 3rd condition not about speed
        • A week later, they were asked if they saw broken glass.
      • Experiment 1
        • They were asked to write a short report after each one.
        • 7 5-30 second film clips.
        • They then had an interview - 5 conditions. The critical question was: How fast were the cars going when they hit/bumper/smashed/collided/contacted each other?
    • Participants
      • Experiment 1 - 45 student from the University of Washington.
      • Experiment 2 - 150 students from the University of Washington
    • Results
      • Experiment 1 - The cars were going at around 20mph.
        • The condition who was asked with 'smashed' estimated the highest speed(34.0).
        • The condition who was asked with contacted estimated the lowest speed (31.8).
      • Experiment 2 - there was no broken glass.
        • 16 people who were  asked with 'smashed' said they saw broken glass.
        • 7 people who were asked with 'hit' said they saw broken glass.
        • 6 people in the control group said they saw broken glass.
    • Conclusions
      • There are two types of information that make up the memory of an event.
        • Perceiving the event.
        • Info given after the event
    • Evaluation
      • Control was high - so it is reliable. but this makes it lack ecological validity.
      • The students were young - their memory might be better than elders. But they also may be less experienced drivers, so their speed estimates aren't generalizable
      • Only quantitative data was collected - useful for comparisons and statistical analysis. However, it can be superficial.

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