Psych: Loftus - Palmer Study

  1. Aim:
    investigate how information supplied after an event influences the witness' memory of the event.
  2. dependent variable
    speed given by the participant
  3. independent variable
    the verb given by the experimenter
  4. How this experiment was conducted?
    included 45 studens of the university of washington. they were each shown 7 clips of traffic accidents. Following each scene the students were asked to write an account on what they had just seen. They were also asked some questions but the critical question was about the speed of the cars that were involved in the collision. There were five condition each with 9 students and the independent variables were manipulated by the wording of the question. The question was: 'How fast were the cars going when the ___________ into each other?'. the verbs used were smashed, collided, bumped, hit, contacted.
  5. Results:
    • Smashed: 40.8 mph
    • Collided: 39.3 mph
    • Bumped: 38.1 mph
    • Hit: 34.0 mph
    • Contacted: 31.8 mph

    The phrasing of the question brought about a change in speed estimate. Smashed elicit a higher speed than contacted.
  6. Explanation of results
    • 1. the participant's memory was distorted. The memory of the speed the cars where going was distorted by the verb characterizing the intensity of the crash, used in the question.
    • 2. The participant does not remember exactly the speed the cars where going so they try to meet the experimenter's expectations (response-bias factor)
Card Set
Psych: Loftus - Palmer Study