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Sarah Matthews
Aim of the study
The aim of the study was to see the effect of leading questions on memory of an event.
Specifically the researchers wanted to find out if changing the verb used in a question
about speed would have any effect on the speed estimates given by participants. Loftus
and Palmer used two laboratory experiments to investigate the effect of leading
questions on recall.…read more

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Sarah Matthews
Loftus and Palmer concluded from their experiment that the wording of the question did
have an effect on the estimate of speed. The severesounding verbs produced the
higher estimates. When the question had the verb smashed in it people gave estimates
that were, on average 9 mph higher than if they were asked using the verb contacted.
Explanations
Loftus and Palmer suggested two explanations for this findings.
The first possible explanation is response bias factors.…read more

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Sarah Matthews
question was one of 10. There was no broken glass in the original film, but Loftus and
palmer predicted that the subjects who were asked the smashed question were more
likely to say yes.
Think about the second of their possible explanations for experiment 1. They suggested
that information received "after the event" might become part of the memory we have of
the actual event.…read more

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Sarah Matthews
the participant is left with a memory of the accident that is more severe than in fact it
was.
What are the strengths of the method used in the study?
The method used in this study was laboratory experiments. Loftus and Palmer
manipulated the words used in the questions and measured the effect of this recall.…read more

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Sarah Matthews
Loftus and Palmer only collected quantitative data, that is, speed estimates and
numbers of people saying that they had seen a broken headlight.
Quantitative data are very useful for making comparisons and allow statistical analysis
to be conducted, but they are fairly superficial and do not tell us anything about why
people gave the answers that they did.
A possible improvement might have been to ask people to rate how confident they were
in the answers they have given.…read more

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