AS OCR Cognitive psychology Loftus and Palmer

  • Created by: Sara
  • Created on: 18-12-12 21:24

Loftus and Palmer:

General aim:

The general aim is to test whether phrasing of questions about a car accident can alter a participants memory of the event.

Experiment 1


The aim of experiment 1 is to see whatever using different verbs to describe a car crach can give different estimates of the cars when the crash take place.



  • 45 students
  • No age or gender were recorded

Design and procedure

  • Labratory experiment
  • Independent measures
  • Participants watched 7 clips of car crashes
  • After the participants were asked to write an account of the accident
  • Then they answered a series of questions
  • Only 1 question was impertant, rest was fillers
  • That helps to make it harder to work out the aim of the experiment
  • The critical question was: 'About how fast were the cars going when they hit each other?'

Independent Varible (IV): The verbs in the critical question. The verbs (Levels of IV): 'Hit', 'contacted', 'bumped', 'collided' and 'smashed'.

Dependent Varible (DV): The mean estimate speed of the car.


  • Quantitative data
  • Estimate of the cars speeds did vary according to the verb used in the crictical question
  • 'contacted' got the lowest estimate and 'smashed' got the highest.



Participants estimates of the cars varied due to the different verbs used in the critical question. There was two possible reason for this:

  • Response bias: When the participant don't know what to estimate, the verb give them a clue on how much they should estimate.
  • Memory distortion  Or the verb that was used in their qustion altered the participants memory of the event.

Experiment 2


The aim of the second experiment was…




A great summary of Loftus and Palmer's classic experiment which would be very helpful for students studying all AS exam boards.