Loftus and Palmer

Loftus and Palmer

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  • Created by: Guy
  • Created on: 04-05-11 17:38

Loftus and Palmer STUDY 1

Aim: to investigate the effect of leading questions on the accuracy of eyewitness testimony

Participants: 45 students, Five groups of 9


  • Lab expertiment
  • 7 clips of traffic accidents
  • asked to complete a questionairre
  • Criticial question was "how fast were the cars going when the ...... eachother?"
  • Five verbs used: smashed, collided, bumped, hit, contacted
  • IV - Verb used in question
  • DV- estimate of speed

Results: the more severe sounding the verb the higher the estimate of speed e.g "smashed" mean estimate - 40.8 whereas "contacted" mean estimate - 31.8

Conclusions: The verb distorts actual memory, there is a response bias (demand characteristics)

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Loftus and Palmer STUDY 2

Participants: 150 students, three groups of 50


  • Procedure same as study 1 but only three conditions:
  • Smashed, Hit and a control (not asked to estimate speed)
  • IV - Verb used in question
  • DV- estimate of speed
  • Asked to come back a week later
  • Did you see broken glass? (there was no broken glass)

Results: wording of the question affects participants memory of an event. Those in the "smashed" condition where twice as likely to recall seeing broken glass

Conclusions: The information we recieve in the question can distort our memory of an event.

There are two types of information that make up a memory of an event: the information we get from perceiving the event and the information we get after the event

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Very useful thanks

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