AQA Psychology - Loftus and Palmer (1974)

HideShow resource information

Loftus and Palmer (1974) Psychology Study

Aim: To test their hypothesis that the language used in eyewitness testimony can alter memory. Thus, they aimed to show that leading questions could distort eyewitness testimony accounts and so have a confabulating effect, as the account would become distorted by cues provided in the question.

To test this Loftus and Palmer (1974) asked people to estimate the speed of motor vehicles using different forms of questions. Estimating vehicle speed is something people are generally poor at and so they may be more open to suggestion.

loftus and pamler 1974 cars (

Procedure: Forty-five American students formed an opportunity sample. This was a laboratory experiment with five conditions, only one of which was experienced by each participant (an independent measures design).

Participants were shown slides of a car accident involving a number of cars and asked to describe what had happened as if they were eyewitnesses.  They were then asked specific questions, including the question “About how fast were the cars going when they (hit/smashed/collided/bumped/contacted ) each other?”

Thus, the IV was




A perfect summary of Loftus and Palmer's classic Eye-Witness Testimony experiment.

Tom the destroyer


Smashing cars together...............( ͡° ͜ʖ ͡°)



Smashing you say ;)



Similar Psychology resources:

See all Psychology resources »See all Memory resources »