Loftus and Palmer Study

Topics: Question, Distortion, Scientific method Pages: 3 (778 words) Published: November 2, 2008
Argue - There are variables that may affect memory and recall.

Aim - How information provided after an event in the form of leading questions may effect peoples memories.

Experiment 1

Participants - 45 students from the University of Washington. Procedure - Participants shown seven videos of car crashes ranging from 4 to 30 seconds long. The videos were excerpts from drivers ed courses so the researchers were aware of the speeds of the cars. The videos were shown to the participants in random order. After each video participants were given a questionnaire which asked them to give an account of the film they had seen. Then they were asked to answer some questions based on what they had seen. Most of the questions were 'filler questions' which were not analysed by the researchers. The one critical question asked was: How fast were the cars going when they __________ into each onther? The space (__________) was filled with one of five verbs: Smashed, Collided, Bumped, Hit, Contacted. The participants were split in to five groups one for each verb. Results - Verb|Mean Estimate. Smashed|40.8, Collided|39.3, Bumped|38.1, Hit|34.0, Contacted|31.8. Discussion - Loftus and Palmer argue that memories are based on two types of imformation: What we percieve at the time of the event and what we find out after the event. They argue that what they hear after the event can distort our memories. In this experiment loftus and palmer argue that two things can be happening: Distortion and Response Bias. Distortion: The verbed used may lead the participant to amend their memory. For example the word smashed may lead the participants to estimate the speed higher than it actually was. Response Bias: (a form of demand characteristics) The participants may not have been sure about the speed and so they may have adjusted their answer to fit the researchers expectations. In the above experiment the researchers were uncertain whether their prompts altered the participants...
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