Loftus and Palmer

Loftus and Palmer Summary sheet

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  • Created on: 06-05-10 21:04
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Name of study: Reconstruction of Automobile Destruction: An Example of the Interaction Between Language and Memory
Author(s): Loftus & Palmer
Approach: Cognitive Approach
Background information (what theories/issues of previous research is the study based on?)
The Multi-store Model
Memories can be interfered with, deleted and replaced.
The idea that people can add misleading information to their memory which distorts their perception of an event etc.
What were the aims and hypotheses of this study?
To investigate the role of leading questions on memory of an event. Specifically; if changing a verb used in a question about
speed, would have any effect on the speed estimations given by the participants. Also to see if the change of verb could
effect the memory of what was seen.
What were the IV+DV / IV's? (where appropriate e.g. in experimental research only)
Experiment One
Independent Variable: the verb used to describe the incident
Dependent Variable: the estimated speed of the cars in mph
Experiment Two
Independent Variable: the verb used to describe the incident
Dependent Variable: reporting's of broken glass
What research method was used?
Independent Measures
Lab Experiment
List the advantages and disadvantages of the method used?

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Advantages Disadvantages
Fully controlled ­ can control for extraneous variables, Demand characteristics ­ guessing the aim of the study.
cause-and-effect relationships can be established, we can Not testing the true aim threatens validity.
be sure the DV is caused by manipulation of the IV.
Easy to replicate, test reliability and test consistency of the Low in ecological validity.
results.…read more

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How fast were the cars going when they hit each other?'
50 of the participants were asked 'How fast were the cars going when they smashed into each other?'
50 of the participants were not interrogated about the speed of the vehicles.
One week later, the participants returned and, without viewing the film again, they answered a series of questions
about the accident.…read more

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List the findings:
In the first part of the study they were measuring the mean estimated speed for each condition.
When the very "smashed" was used to describe the speed of the car footage the mean estimated speed in mph
was higher than all the other conditions, it was 40.5.
When the verb "contacted" was used to describe the speed of the car footage, the mean estimated speed in mph
was the lowest out of all the other conditions, it was 31.8.…read more

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The way witnesses are dealt with by the police and in the court rooms.
Police should now no longer use misleading questions and any hint of a leading question can lead to the witness as being
classed as unreliable.
What evaluation issues relate to this study and why?
Must include:
Methodology: Lab Experiment
Strength Weakness
Extraneous variables are well controlled. For example all It is done in an extremely artificial condition.…read more

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Deception ­ participants weren't told the true aim of the study, they had information withheld from them. Deception would
have been justified as necessary to reduce the risk of demand characteristics and increase natural response. But with
deception comes lack of informed consent because ideally participants should be able to give full consent to what they
partake in.
Give two alternative ways of conducting the study and suggest any changes that might occur in the findings and
any implications of the changes (e.g.…read more

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Check if the results
are ethnocentric as
the sample in this
improvement is
wider to other
nationalities.…read more


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