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The effects of misleading
information on the
accuracy of Eye witness
Memories laid down at the time are
fragile and subject to distortion.
Loftus (1992) called this
`misinformation acceptance' where
people accept misleading information
into their current memory.…read more

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Research.. Loftus (
Loftus showed participants a film of events leading up
to a car crash.
After the film, participants were split into two groups,
experimental & control.
The control group was asked questions on what had
actually happened ( how fast was the white sports car
going when it past the stop sign?)
However the experimental group was asked a question
including misleading information (how fast was the car
going when it past the barn?). There was no barn.
17% of people in the experimental group had said they
had seen the barn, only 3% of the control group had
made this mistake.
Loftus had concluded that some people in the
experimental group had absorbed this new information
into their memory.…read more

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Methodical issues &
ethical issues
Controlled laboratory experiment.
Loftus used realistic material.. Film footage of
a car accident.
Many critics say that her participants were
subject to demand characteristics.
Did not obtain full informed consent as she did
not reveal that she was going to ask misleading
questions.…read more

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Anxieties effect on
Laboratory based studies have shown impaired recall in
people who have witnessed unpleasant or anxiety
inducing situations.
Research ­ Loftus
- Loftus in (1979) reported a phenomenon known as
`weapon effect'.
- p's were asked to sit outside a lab where they thought
they were hearing genuine exchanges between two people
C1 ­ They heard a discussion about equipment failure, A
man then left the lab with a pen.
C2 ­ They heard a hostile discussion, followed by the sound
of breaking glass. A man then leaves lab holding a knife
covered in blood.
P's then given 50 photos and asked to identify the man
with the knife, people who had witnessed peaceful scene
were more accurate then those who had witnessed the…read more

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Christianson and Hubinette (1993) reported
that in real life incidents involving high levels
of stress, memory can be more accurate,
detailed and long lasting.
They carried out a survey among 110 people,
who had witnessed between them 22 bank
Some people where bystanders and some had
been directly threatened.
The victims who had been subject to greatest
anxiety had showed more detail than the other
people.…read more

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