• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month
  1. 1
  2. 2
  3. 3
  4. 4
  5. 5
  6. 6
  7. 7
  8. 8
  9. 9
  10. 10
  11. 11
  12. 12
  13. 13
  14. 14
  15. 15
  16. 16
  17. 17
  18. 18
  19. 19
  20. 20
  21. 21
  22. 22
  23. 23
  24. 24

whether leading questions can affect a person's memory of a question and insert an object that is not there into the memory.

Extracts from this document...


Introduction Memory is the minds ability to store information and use it. A single process has yet not been defined about it and several theories exist about its nature. It has a huge role on our everyday lives and can be categorised into two main parts: short-term memory and long-term memory. Short-term memory stores a limited amount of information for a period of a few seconds. It can also be referred to as the 'primary', 'working' or 'active' part of the memory. On the other hand, long-term memory is stored as meaning and can last from 30 seconds to time periods as long as decades. The reliability of memory is often questioned. Memory is extremely malleable. Studies have shown that memories are often constructed after the fact has been told, and suggestions from others help fill the gaps. For example, if a police officer shows a witness a picture of an assailant and then shown a line-up of possible assailants, whether the witness is recalling the person they saw or the person in the picture is questionable. Bartlett (1932) investigated the effect of schema on a participant's recall of a story. A schema is a mental structure that represents some aspect of the world. They are used by people to organise current knowledge and is thought to provide a framework for future understanding. His theory of reconstructive memory is crucial to an understanding of eyewitness testimony because he says that the way we see our world and make sense of it affects our recall. To test this Bartlett conducted a study in which the participants were told stories from other cultures, which would be hard for them to understand. The story 'War of the ghosts' when recalled had changes in it to suit the western culture. For example 'canoe' was recalled as 'boat' and the concept of ghost was sometimes missed out altogether. ...read more.


The debrief contained exactly how they may have been led and by which question. They were again given the right to withdraw if they did not agree with the deception. The participants were reminded about the confidentiality of their results, and how the results would be unidentifiable. Pilot study A pilot study was conducted to find any problems with the questionnaire and the clarity of the picture. Five people were asked to complete the questionnaire after being the shown the picture. The wording of the leading question was changed from 'There were kiwis in the fruit bowl. Yes or No' to 'How many kiwis were in the fruit bowl? Three or None'. The reason for this change was that the first version of the question was a statement and not a question; therefore it did not allow the participant a choice. Participants The target population was students at St Marys College, Shear Brow, Blackburn. This was because the students were the people available at the time and because opportunity sampling was used, they were the target population. A sample of 20 students was used with the age range of 16 to 18 and the gender ratio was 10 males and 10 females. 10 of these students formed the control group who were asked the non-leading question and the other 10 formed the experimental group who were asked the leading question. They were asked to choose from the two questionnaires (one containing the leading question and the other containing the non-leading question) hence they became part of either the control or experiment group. The sample was obtained using opportunity sampling. Opportunity sampling is when the participants that are selected are the ones available at that time. This type of sampling was used due to the fact that it was quick and convenient. However, it was harder to get a representative sample and bias may have occurred to choose the most helpful looking participants. ...read more.


This would help achieve results that are more reliable and therefore generalised more easily. The experiment would take place in laboratory conditions so that a cause and effect can be established definitively, and extraneous variables such as a noise and distractions from other people would no longer be problems. The two questionnaires would contain all leading or all non-leading questions, so that the results do not depend on the answer of one critical question. Open-ended questions could be used to give the participant more freedom to answer. Also, the subject of the task could be changed to something more serious such as the scene of a car crash, making it more alike to realistic situations, and giving the participant more motivation to give the task more attention, due to the seriousness of the subject. Further research stimulated from this investigation, could be investigating the differences gender can cause in answering leading and non-leading questions i.e. is one gender more easily led than another? The experiment could be conducted in the same manner, however there would be two groups who are asked the leading questions (one consisting only of males and the other of females) and two groups who are asked the non-leading questions (again one of males and the other of females). The results for the leading questions group for each gender would then be compared, and so would the results for the non-leading questions group. They would be compared using tables and bar charts, comparing the mean number of correct answers for each gender. There would either be no relationship between the two genders, or one gender would be more easily led than the other. This would be apparent from the results. This investigation was carried out to find the effect of leading and non-leading questions on a person's recollection of a memory. It was found that there was no relationship between the independent (style of question: leading/non-leading) and dependant (whether participant was led or not) variables and kiwis were not inserted into the memory of a fruit plate, for those people who were asked the leading question. ...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 Social 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 Social Psychology essays

  1. Marked by a teacher

    The effect of the Level of Processing on the amount of information recalled

    4 star(s)

    The anomalies achieved were not as a result of methodological error, but due to variations in personal recall techniques. Although the results appear to agree with the Levels of Processing model, the model itself has come under scrutiny. Baddeley criticised the model for being over-simplified, and merely describing rather than explaining.

  2. An Investigation to see whether the halo effect is present when rating personality ...

    high mean of 7.3 whereas in Condition 2 where participants got the 'unattractive' picture then the 'attractive' picture it was 4.2. A limitation of the study was that only a small sample of pupils from Skipton Girls' High School took part in the investigation so generalisations can not be made

  1. The matching hypothesis

    What was discovered was that males continuously rank other males much lower than they rank the females in the photographs, for example male number 2 rated the male in photograph 1 only 2 points, whereas he rated the female of the couple 8 points.

  2. What are attribution biases and when do they occur?

    An experiment by Storms (1973) illustrated how this bias might depend on the different perceptual focus of actors and observers. Judgements about causes of behaviour during a "get acquainted" conversation were found to depend on the direction of attention of the person making the judgement.

  1. Psychology Questions Ansewered

    One such piece of evidence is Hans' dream that he had married his mother, and promoted his father to grand-father status. All studies present some ethical issues to consider. Outline two ethical issues raised by the study by Bandura, Ross and Ross into the imitation of aggressive behaviour.

  2. A study was conducted to see if there are gender differences in how aggressive ...

    The design used in this scenario is an independent measures design. An independent measures design test different people in each condition of the experiment. This design is used because the same participants cannot be asked twice. An advantage of an independent measures design is that there are no order effects.

  1. The Matching Hypothesis

    and also 20 males (10 single males and 10 from the real couples that the 10 females came from). When the images were collated we firstly labelled the 10 real couples, letters from A to J (see Appendix III). We then split the image of the couples so we ended up with 10 males and 10 females.

  2. Analyse the Studies into the Accuracy of Eyewitness Testimony

    How well the information is retained is based on how shallow or deep the processing level is. Shallow processing, process the material to be memorized at a structural level rather than a semantic level. This process consists of coding the material in terms of its psychical characteristics (sound or appearance)

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