• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

To investigate the effect of misleading questions on the accuracy of witness statements

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

Eye-Witness Testimony Aim: To investigate the effect of misleading questions on the accuracy of witness statements. Introduction: Reconstructive memory, or the idea of a schema, a mental framework into which related information or ideas fit together, was first introduced by Bartlett in 1932. In storing information we may reconstruct it to fit into our own personal memory, so it conforms to our existing beliefs, values and expectations. What we remember is influenced by what we know. Confabulation is the process, when we unconsciously adapt our memories to fit in with our existing experiences. Our experiment was based on the work conducted by Loftus and Zanni on eye-witness testimony. For example, they did an experiment where participants were shown a film of mulpitle car accidents, and then were asked questions, concerning the accidents. There were 2 groups and they were asked 22 item questions and 6 critical questions. Group A was asked indefinite article questions, for example "Did you see a broken headlight?" and group B "Did you see the broken headlight?". Indefinite article did not imply as to whether article was present or not and definite article did imply that it was present. ...read more.

Middle

Experimental Hypothesis: Asking misleading questions increases the chance of participants reporting seeint items / actions which did not occur (Q2-4) or causes participants to report an increase in the number of people (Q1) or the speed of the car (Q5) as suggested in the misleading question. Null Hypothesis: There is no difference between answers to straightforward questions and answers to misleading questions. Method Design: The independent variable is the straightforward or the misleading question. The dependent variable is the answer given. The study was an experiment with an independent groups design (different participants in each condition). The main variable that has not been controlled are the individual differences between people as previous experience and memories could also affect the answers given. Repeated measures to get more reliable results would have been inappropriate because people would be very likely to remember their previous answers, could see the difference between questions and guess what the study is about, due to the demand characteristics of people. That would influence the answers given and so would be unreliable. The ethical issue raised is that fully inform consent was not given to the students before the test, but given after. ...read more.

Conclusion

try and guess what the experiment was about, due to demand characteristics, and if they succeeded at guessing that could change their answers. It is not like they are giving evidence against someone, which could have great consequences, but they were in a classroom and whatever the students would answer, it would not have any impact on anything important. There is also an issue that there is no emotional factor involved - seeing a video of a car crash is not remotely similar to seeing it in real life. Emotions can create flashbulb memories, which means the witness could recall the event with very fine details. This issue was also not considered in the two experiments by Loftus discussed earlier. To improve the experiment, more participants should be tested. Due to the limited amount of students in a classroom, it was harder to do. However, the results would have been much more reliable if more people were tested. To improve the ecological validity of the experiment, the emotional effect should be considered. For example, the experiment could be done on an important public tragedy, such as the Twin Towers, which would involve the emotional effect. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our AS and A Level Cognitive Psychology section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related AS and A Level Cognitive Psychology essays

  1. Memory: Rote Rhearsal and Mental Imagery.

    After two minutes of learning the word pairs, the participants were instructed to turn over the word pairs and perform a distracter task. The distracter task was just making the participants think about something else and was stopping them from looking at the word pairs.

  2. A Study to Investigate Whether Leading Questions have an Effect on Memory

    They were then split into two groups and questioned about the video. One group of participants were asked 'How fast was the car travelling when it passed a stop sign' and participants in the second group were asked 'How fast was the car travelling when it travelled past the barn', however there was not a barn in the video.

  1. Stroop Effect

    Null hypothesis There will be no difference between naming the colour words presented in conflicting colours and naming the common nouns presented in different colours. The level of significance is 0.05. If that level is found then investigation can be accepted.

  2. Report on Psychological Research into Eyewitness Testimony

    So overall one half of the participants were given misleading questions (having 'Yield' suggested having been presented with the 'Stop' slide), and the other half of the participants were given a question consistent with what they had actually seen (having 'Yield' be suggested having been presented with the 'Yield' slide).

  1. Memory's Impact

    The participants then heard the second set of standardised instructions that were read out by the investigator. 9) The participants were given the recall sheet that had twenty spaces for each of the words. Participants were asked to recall as many of the words from the PowerPoint presentation in any order.

  2. "Eyewitness testimony differs from many other aspects of memory in that accuracy is of ...

    participants had to recognise the slides included in the original set. One slide showing the car stopped at the yield sign; another slide showing the car stopped at the stop sign. 75 percent of the participants who had received the consistent questions picked the correct slide, as opposed to 41 percent who had been given the misleading question.

  1. The Stroop Effect

    Hypothesis-null: There will be no difference in the time taken for participants to say colour words in a different colour to what the word is on a word list then when the colour word is in the same colour. Methods Design The research will be carried out in a repeated

  2. Describe and Evaluate Research by E.Loftus into Eye Witness Testimony, the implications of the ...

    The remit of the team was to carry on the work pioneered by James Brussel, and started by building a data base of information based on recorded interviews with convicted sexually orientated serial killers around the USA, such as Charles Mason, David Berkowitz and Emil Kemper.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work