Loftus and palmer 1974

A breif description on loftus and palmer and eye witness testimonies 

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Loftus and Palmer
The aim of this study was to see the effect of leading questions on memory of
an event.
The study actually consists of two laboratory experiments.
They are both examples of an independent measures design.
The independent variable = the verb used.
The dependent variable
The first experiment = participant's speed estimate
The second experiment = participant believed they saw glass.
First Experiment
Participants = 45 students of the University of Washington.
Shown seven film-clips of traffic accidents. The clips ranged from 5 to 30
seconds long.
The students were asked to write an account of the accident they had
just seen. Also asked to answer some specific questions but the critical
question was to do with the speed of the vehicles involved in the collision.
Five conditions in the experiment = 9 ppts
The basic question was therefore 'About how fast were the cars going when they
***** each other?'. In each condition, a different word or phrase was used to fill in
the blank. These words were; smashed, collided, bumped, hit, contacted.
The entire experiment lasted about an hour and a half and a different
ordering of the films was presented to each group of participants.
The dependent variable was the speed estimates given by the
Results of the first experiment
Table 1. Speed estimates for the verbs used in the estimation of speed
Verb Mean estimate of speed (mph)
Smashed 40.8
Collided 39.3
Bumped 38.1
Hit 34.0
Contacted 31.8
Examples show that the phrasing of the question brought about a change in
speed estimate. With smashed eliciting a higher speed estimate than contacted.

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Loftus and Palmer
Explanation of findings
Loftus and Palmer give two interpretations/explanations of the findings of their
1st experiment.
1. Firstly, they argue that the results could be due to a distortion in
the memory of the participant. The memory of how fast the cars
were travelling could have been distorted by the verbal label, which
had been used to characterise the intensity of the crash.
2.…read more

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Loftus and Palmer
Results of the second experiment
Response Smashed Hit Control
Yes 16 7 6
No 34 43 44
Those participants that heard the word "smashed" were more than twice as
likely to recall seeing broken glass.
Explanation of results
To account for the results of the second experiment, Loftus and Palmer
developed the following explanation called the reconstructive hypothesis:
They argue that two kinds of information go into a person's memory of
an event.…read more

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Loftus and Palmer
Key terms
Independent variable (IV) = the variable that researchers manipulate in an
Dependent variable (DV) = in an experiment, the variable that is affected
by the researchers'' manipulation of the independent variable (measuring)
Statistical terms= let you know how likely your results are to be due to
chance. The lower the probability of a chance result, the more likely your
results are to be due to the manipulation of the independent variable.…read more


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