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The Effects of leading questions on Eyewitness Testimony

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Introduction

Method Design A laboratory experiment was used for this piece of research. This was chosen as in these settings there is a high degree of control for the researcher who is more able to control variables for a more effective and reliable piece of research. Also these types of experiments are usually easier to replicate if results need to be checked or reaffirmed. It is also easier to avoid extraneous or confounding variables, which could affect results. Examples of extraneous variables that could arise in this experiment could be distractions in the room where the experiment may take place, individual differences e.g. the moods of the participants may vary etc. To avoid this, the two conditions were set in the same room at the same time of day. This room was as devoid of colour and distraction as was possible in attempts to keep the participants on focussing on the task at hand. Other factors that could have affected the status/mood of the participant could have been weather or temperature. This was also avoided by keeping participants indoors in a classroom. This classroom had air conditioning facilities, these ensured that the room was kept at a comfortable temperature to avoid distraction. ...read more.

Middle

When participants entered the room were told that they were participating in a psychological experiment on eyewitness testimony. Participants were not told the exact nature of the experiment. This measure was taken to avoid demand characteristics, to ensure that participant's answers and behaviours are genuine. One condition entered the room. Each participant was allocated a seat, one space away from the other. In front of each participant was an overturned questionnaire form with normal questions. Standardised instructions were read out to participants by the researcher prior to the start of the experiment. Participants then watched a 3-minute video/DVD clip. After this they were given 2 minutes to complete their questionnaires. The half of the first condition was given the questionnaire with leading questions and the other half was given the questionnaire with non-leading questions. This was repeated for the second condition. After questionnaires had been collected the participants were debriefed. Here they were informed of the true nature of the experiment and any doubts and ill feeling were reassured to the participants. An opportunity was then presented for participants to put forward any queries they may have had about the study. Results were checked to find which group gave the most correct answers. ...read more.

Conclusion

4. The participants should be asked to be silent and the following should be said: "Welcome and thank you for participating in this experiment. This is an investigation into eye witness testimony. Please do not turn over the question paper in front of you until you are asked to do so. A three minute clip will be played for you. Please watch this clip carefully as you will later be questioned on it. You will have 3 minutes to answer the questions after the clip, after which we will ask you to stop writing and return your question papers to us. Do you have any questions? (at this point any queries should be taken and addressed to the best of the researchers ability, without giving away the true purpose of the experiment)" 5. The clip should then be played in the view of all participants in the condition. After this clip is played participants should then answer all questions, this should all be done in silence. 6. After the three minute answer period has ended the questionnaires should be collected by the researcher(s) and participants should be debriefed. The true nature of the experiment should be revealed and the participants should be put at ease about their involvement. 7. This procedure should be followed with the second condition however the questionnaire without leading questions should be used. ?? ?? ?? ?? Year 13 - Psychology Coursework ...read more.

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