PY2- Loftus and Palmer, Interaction between language and memory

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  • Created by: Hannah
  • Created on: 07-05-11 12:34

Loftus and Palmer

Aim and context

Eye witness testimonies used to be sufficient as the only evidence for prosecution, The innocence project found eye witness misidentification is the biggest reason for wrongful convictions and plays a role in75% of convictions in USA which are later overturned due to DNA evidence. However, questioning by officials might alter perception of events and effect how they are recalled, leading questions suggest a desired answer. Marshall found that when asked to estimate speed of a car, air force personell estimated a car travelling at 12mph as a speed of 10-50mph. Carmichael showed participants a drawing with a verbal description, these verbal descriptions altered how the participants drew the drawing when asked to reconstuct it later from memory. Fillmore suggested the phrasing influences judgement, smashed and hit implies different rates of movement. Bartlett identified factors influencing memory reconstruction " war of the ghosts" become shorter and simpler and culturally unfamiliar, participants didnt have relevant schemas.

The aim of the experiment was to see if speed estimates are influenced by question wording and see if leading questions bias responses or alter scored memory.


Experiment 1 consisted of 45 students participants, 5 groups of 9 watched 7 film clips of traffic accidents and asked about vehicle speed after each clip, verbs varied in questions collided, smashed, hit, contacted and bumped into. The film clips were presented in different orders to each group.

Experiment 2 consisted of 150 student participants who watch a film clip of multiple car accidents, they then answered a questionnaire asking them to describe the collision and answer questions the critical question was how fast were the cars travelling when they smashed into each other? this was given to 50 participants, another 50 participants answered the same question but…


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