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December 11, 2019, 06:25:24 am

Author Topic: How would you's explain the Loftus and Palmer experiment (in detail)?  (Read 1825 times)  Share 

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Would anybody be able to explain in detail how you would explain the Loftus and Palmer experiment? 'cause I have no idea! haha

Thanks ! :D


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The Loftus and Palmer experiment was carried out by Elizabeth Loftus - she's made huge contributions in terms of things like false memories and how people RECONSTRUCT memories. In 1974, Loftus along with her colleague Palmer wanted to find out whether eye-witness testimony was genuine (they believed that often if not always, it wasn't genuine as people modified their memory of an incident based on past experience, social influences, their own expectations, etc). They made participants watch a video of a motor accident, after which they interrogated them as if they were being cross-examined in court. Some participants were asked ‘How fast were the cars going when they COLLIDED with each other?’, while other participants had other words such as bumped into, hit, contacted, smashed into substituted for ‘collided’.

Conclusion? It was found that the more impactful or more severe and intense the word in the question sounded like, the higher would be the eyewitnesses estimate of the speed. This was proven by the results as well which indicated that a high intensity crash implying word like "SMASHED" generated an estimated speed by the eyewitnesses of 40.5 m/ph; whereas a low intensity and less severe crash implying word generated an estimated speed of only 31.8 m/ph. This suggests that memories are never 100% reliable as even direct observation of an accident can have varying witness recounts (or in this case, estimates of speed) depending on HOW that question is asked to the eyewitness or the words used in the question which may alter or influence the eyewitnesses memory of what they actually saw.
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L & P performed two experiments that explored the same concept: the reconstruction of memory as a result of external information (leading questions, police investigation in identification line-up) and personal experience to which they were exposed during the reconsolidation process.
Therefore, they advanced our knowledge about Eyewitness Testimony - a slightly different ball game...
but specific to their research:

Aim of experiment 1: to investigate how new information presented to witnesses after an event will influence their memory of the event
IV: the wording/phrasing of the critical question (verb used - smashed, hit, colllided, contacted, bumped)
DV: the speed estimate (given by the participant)
disadvantages of DV: subjective measurement - cannot be accurately ascertained how fast the car was travelling prior to accident just through use of video clips
Conclusions/implications of experiment 1:
* that phrasing of the question influenced participants' speed estimates
* that higher speed estimates were given by participants when exposed to verb 'smashed' compared to verb 'bumped'
this implies that:
- difference in speed estimates as given by participants due to manipulation of verb 
- the critical word (verb) resconstructs memory, because the participant 'sees' the accident differently - more/less severe
Aim of experiment 2: To investigate whether people remember details that aren't true ( note that purpose of this experiment was to prove the second implication mentioned above for understanding) 
IV: the wording/phrasing of the critical question ("did you see broken glass?")
DV: whether the individual answered yes/no to seeing broken glass

Loftus and Palmer found that memories can be deliberately influenced, leading to reconstruction of memory rather than actual memory
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She did do 2 experiments though, but i think the 1st experiment is more important than the 2nd one