Psychology Studies (Memory and Development

Loftus and Palmer (1974)

45 participants split into 5 groups, and shown a film of a traffic accident

Asked with the words Contacted, Hit, Bumped, Collided, or Smashed to estimate the speed of the cars before the accident

A week later asked if they saw broken glass from a non-existant broken headlight


"Smashed" group on average estimated 10 mph higher than "Contacted" group

"Smashed" group more likely to (wrongly) say they had seen broken glass

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Loftus and Palmer (1974)

45 participants split into 5 groups, and shown a film of a traffic accident

Asked with the words Contacted, Hit, Bumped, Collided, or Smashed to estimate the speed of the cars before the accident

A week later asked if they saw broken glass from a non-existant broken headlight


"Smashed" group on average estimated 10 mph higher than "Contacted" group

"Smashed" group more likely to (wrongly) say they had seen broken glass

1 of 21

Loftus (2003)

120 participants who had visted Disney Land in their childhood

Split into 4 groups:

A) Fake Disney advert with no cartoon characters

B) Fake advert, Bugs Bunny cut out in the room

C) Fake advert including Bugs

D) Fake advert including Bugs, with cut out in room

Participants were then asked to fill out a questionnaire about their visit


30% of group C and 40% of group D remembered meeting Bugs Bunny at Disney Land

2 of 21

Yuille and Cutshall (1986)

13 witnesses from a mugging and shooting of a gun shop in Ontario, Canada

Interviewed 4 months after the event

Interview included misleading questions


Accounts stayed consistent throught the interviewing

Misleading questions had no effect

Those who had been closest to the event and experienced the most anxiety recalled the most, and most accurately

3 of 21

Flin et al (1992)

Three groups of participants:

5/6 year olds

9/10 year olds5

Young adults

Asked to watch a presentation on foot hygiene, including a staged fight between the nurse and her assistants. A 5 minute talk followed

Participants were questioned on the events the following day, and then 5 months later

Both interviews concerned clothes, series of events and content


Immediate recall was unaffected by age, all participants were equally accurate

5 months later the 5/6 group showed the poorest recall, and the young adults showed the best

4 of 21

Poole and Lindsey (2001)

Participants aged 3-8

Asked to watch a science demonstration

Were questioned on demonstration

Were read a story by their caregivers that included information from the demonstration, and some new information

Then questioned on the demonstration again


All children could accurately recall recent events,

Younger children more likely to include more information from the story

Older children showed better source recognition when asked to consider where the information came from

5 of 21

Anastasi and Rhodes (2006)

Three groups of participants:




Each participant was shown 24 photos of varying age groups

Later shown 48 photographs, including the earlier 24

Asked to identify which photos they had previously seen


Younger and middle aged groups had more accurate recall

Each group was most accurate at identifying their own age group

6 of 21

Loftus (1979)

Participants saw one of two events, under the pretense that they were waiting for the experiment to begin:

A discussion between two men over malfunctioning equiment, then one man walked out holding a pen covered in grease

A loud confrontation, followed by the sound of smashing chairs, a man then emerged holding a paperknife covered in blood

Participants were then given 50 photos and asked to correctly identify the man


49% of the pen group were correct

33% of the paperknife group were correct

7 of 21

Christianson and Hubinette (1993)

110 witnesses of 22 genuine bankrobberies were questioned

Some were victims (directly threatened) or bystanders (onlookers)


Victims remembered more about the robbers (appearance, behaviours, weapons)

8 of 21

Jacobs (1887)

Participants were read lists of words/numbers to remember immediately

Lists lengthened until only 50% of participants correctly remember the list


Short term memory on average held 9 numbers and 7 letters

Simplified to 7+/- items

8 year olds on average remembered 7 items

19 year olds remembered 9

9 of 21

Peterson and Peterson (1959)

Participants were shown a three consonant trigram

Asked to count backwards in threes from a three digit number to prevent rehearsal

After intervals of 3 to 18 seconds they were stopped and asked to recall the trigram


80% of trigrams were remembered at 3 seconds

<10% were remembered after 18 seconds

10 of 21

Baddeley (1966)

Participants split into 4 groups that heard 5 (STM) or 10 (LTM) words that were either

Acoustically similar

Acoustically dissimilar

Semantically similar

Semanticially dissimilar

(STM) Then asked to recall them in order 

(LTM) Distracted for 20 minutes with another unrelated task and then asked to recall them again 



Accoustic similar accuracy- 55% Accoustic dissimilar- 78%

No difference in semantic words

11 of 21

Bahrick (1975)

392 American high school graduates who had left between 7 and 47 years ago

Shown pictures from their yearbooks

One group was asked to free recall their classmate's names

The other was given a list of names to choose from for each photograph


Free recall

60% accurate at 7 years

<20% at 47 years


90% at 14 years

60% at 47 years

12 of 21

Czech Twins Case Study

Locked in a cellar and beaten from 18 months to 7 years

When found-

Short stature and rickets- lack of calcium

Gesture based communication

Terrified of new environment

Adopted by two women and attended a school for children with learning difficulties

By age 14, showed no social abnormality

13 of 21

Genie Case Study (Curtis (1997))

Strapped to a high chair in a cellar until age 13

No social interaction

Beaten if she made a noise

Not toilet trained

Communicated through animalistic noises

Unable to walk

Never developed language skills

Some evidence of attachments to caregivers

14 of 21

Hodges and Tizzard (1989)

65 children less that 4 months when institutionalised in a children's home

By 4 years old-

24 Adopted- showed disinhibited attachment

15 Restored

26 Institutionalised- showed disinhibited attachment

By 8 years old-

Adopted showed close attachments with adoptive parents

Restored + Adopted more attention seeking than control group

Restored poor relationship (resentment) with parents

By 16 years-

Adopted more sociable with strong attachment

Restored poor attachment

15 of 21

Ainsworth (1979) Strange Situation

Children 12-18 months introduced to a number of "strange situations" with their mother and alone

Observed seperation anxiety, proximity seeking, wariness of strangers, and reunion behaviour

Found the following attachment types:

70% Secure

20% Avoidant

10% Resistant

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Takahashi (1990)

Conducted Ainsworth's strange situation study on middle class Japanese children

Found the following attachment types-

68% Secure

32% Resistant

No Avoidant types

17 of 21

Van IJzendoorn and Kroonenberg (1988)

Meta-analysis of 32 countries that carried out the strange situation study

Found that the percentage of secure children remained fairly constant around 70%

Percentage of insecure types varied

Exception of Germany- 40% secure, 49% avoidant, 11% resistant

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Clarke-Steward et al (1994)

Multiple observations:

1) Peer relationships of 2-3 year olds who had attended daycare

2) Strength of attachments in "high intensity" (>30 hours/week) daycare children compared to "low intensity" (<10 hours/week) children


2-3 year olds were good at coping with social interactions and negotiating

Low and high intensity children were just as distressed when seperated

19 of 21

Shea (1981)

3-4 year olds videotaped in the playground during their first 10 weeks at a nursery school

Behaviour assesed in terms of rough and tumble play, agression, frequency of interaction, distance from nearest child, and distance from nearest adult

Eventually frequency of peer interaction increased, while distance from the nearest adult decreased

Increase in sociability became more evident in children who attended five times a week versus twice a week

20 of 21

Belsky and Rovine (1988)

Used Ainsworth's Strange Situation method to study the attachments of two groups of children:

1) In daycare for more than 20 hours a week before the age of 1

2) "Home-reared" children who had never been in daycare


43% of daycare children were shown to have insecure attachment types, compared to 26% of home reared children

21 of 21


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