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Page history last edited by PBworks 17 years, 7 months ago

Key Study

Loftus & Palmer (1974)

Reconstruction of auto-mobile destruction; an example of the interaction between language and memory.


In their procedure, Loftus & Palmer showed seven film-clips of a traffic accidents to 45 student participants. Following the presentation, the students were asked a number of questions, the critical one involving the speed of the vehicles. There were five conditions. One was the question ‘How fast were the cars going when they smashed into each other?’ While in the other groups smashed was changed to collided, bumped, hit, and finally contacted.


The findings were that the way in which the questions were asked had an effect on what the participants remembered. Those participants who had heard the word ‘smashed’ gave the highest speed estimate (about 40mph) while for those given the word ‘hit, the estimate was almost 10 mph less. Their memory of the accident was far worse than the other group’s memories, even though they had seen exactly the same film.





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