eyewitness testimony

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A - Describe one laboratory study on eyewitness testimony

Loftus and Palmer 1974 conducted one laboratory experiment. They aimed to investigate how information supplied after an event influences an individuals recall. The study did not just consist of one single laboratory experiment but was in fact two different groups of two different experiments. The study was an independent measures design with the dependent variable in the first experiment is the participant’s speed estimate and the dependent variable in the second experiment is whether the participant believed they saw glass. In the first experiment the sample was 45 students of the University of Washington in America. They were shown seven short video clips (in a laboratory) of a traffic accident. After they has seen this they were then asked to write an account of what they had just seen and answer specific questions in the style of a questionnaire. One of these was known as the critical question in which they was asked about the speed of the car and at what speed they perceived the car to be going at. The participants were split into five conditions consisting of nine and then the IV in the experiment was manipulated being the wording of this critical question. This was seeing whether the wording in questions in court could distort an individual’s memory. The wording changed as such:

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Condition 1: How fast were the cars going when they smashed into each other?

Condition 2:How fast were the cars going when they collided into each other?

Condition 3: How fast were the cars going when they bumped into each other?

Condition 4: How fast were the cars going when they hit each other?

Condition 5: How fast were the cars going when they contacted each other?

As the verb in the critical question changed the miles per hour (mph) for each verb produced different responses. Smashed produced the fastest speed being 40.8 mph and contacted made the car accident seem slower as ...

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