loftus and palmer 2015PPH

Loftus and Palmer (1974)
With thanks to Natalie Minaker
Loftus and Palmer (1974)
Reconstruction of automobile
destruction: an example of the
interaction between language and
Field of psychology: Cognitive
Type of study: Laboratory
Aim and Context
•How accurate do you think the Eyewitness testimony of these people would be?
Aim and Context
“I do solemnly,
sincerely and truly
declare and affirm
that the evidence I
shall give shall be
the truth, the whole
truth and nothing
but the truth”
•Have you ever witnessed a crime? How accurate do you think your memory would be if you did?
What factors might affect how accurate your memory is?
Why is it important?
The Innocence project
An organisation which works to clear the
names of wrongly convicted people
They claim that eyewitness misidentification
is the greatest single cause of wrongful
convictions in the USA, convictions that
were later overturned by DNA evidence.
What are leading questions?
“A leading question is a question
that either by its form or content,
suggests to the witness what answer
is desired, or leads him to the
desired answer.
Elizabeth Loftus
Why are they a problem?
Retroactive interference
Incoming information is
integrated and confused
with existing knowledge
Our mind does not work
like a camera
Marshall (1969)
Air Force personnel, observed a car
travelling at 12 mph.
Their estimates ranged from 10 to 50
1: Given that there are such a range of
estimates, it suggests that there might be
variables which may cause these inaccuracies
such as the phrasing of a question to elicit a
judgement of speed
Filmore (1971)
Suggested that the words smashed
and hit may imply different rates of
These words lead the listener to
assume different consequences to the
impacts to which they are referring,
with hit being perceived as gentler
than smashed.
Loftus and Palmer’s experiment was
actually two experiments.
They wanted to investigate in general
how accurate or inaccurate memory
was. Specifically they wanted to see
questions upon
the effect of leading
estimates of speed
Experiment 1
See if the speed estimates would be
influenced by the wording of the question
Hit vs Smashed
Experiment 2
To see if the leading questions just
changed the responses given to the
questions, or whether the participant’s
memories had actually altered as a result
of the leading questions.
Loftus and Palmer carried out two
experiments. You need to know detailed
procedures for both of them, as well as
participant numbers.
Use the information on page 93 and the
text on the right (taken from the original
article), complete the summary table for
experiment 1 and 2 on the next page.
Put the steps of the procedure of
experiment 1 into the correct order.
Q1: Why were the participants not
told about the true aims of the study?
Q2: Why were the participants given
a series of questions rather than just
the critical question alone?
Q3: What was the point of having a
control group in the second
Findings and conclusions
Draw two graphs
Summarise the results
Write in the conclusions
Evaluate the methodology
Work together
Critically assess with reference to alternative evidence
Match up the study with the
description of what the results mean
Use three colours to highlight research
that supports, contradicts, or
develops Loftus and Palmer’s