Psychology Memory

In: Philosophy and Psychology

Submitted By yungtomtom
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Eye witness testimony is the ability of people remembering the details of events, such as accidents and crimes which they themselves have observed. The accuracy of eye witness testimony can be affected by factors such as misleading information, leading questions, post-event discussion and anxiety.
Loftus and Palmer investigated how the language (leading questions) used in eyewitness testimony can alter memory. 45 students were shown 7 films of different traffic accidents. After each film the participants were given a questionnaire which asked them to describe the accident and then answer a series of specific questions about it. There was one critical. This question was ‘About how fast were the cars going when they hit each other?’ One group of participants were given this question. The other five groups were given the verbs smashed, collided, bumped or contacted in place of the word hit. The mean speed estimate was calculated for each group. The group given the word ‘smashed’ estimated a higher speed than the other groups (about 41 mph). The group given the word ‘contacted’ estimated the lowest speed (about 30 mph). This suggests that memory is easily distorted by questioning technique and information acquired after the event can merge with original memory causing inaccurate memory. This may not be valid because the participants may not have taken the task seriously as they knew it was not real (lacks ecological validity) and there was little to no consent given by participants to watch clips on car crashes so could cause psychological harm. However since it was a lab experiment it is easy to replicate as it’s controlled.
Loftus and Palmer also conducted another study in which participants were shown a series of slides of a customer in a restaurant. In one version the customer was holding a gun, in the other the same customer held a checkbook. Participants who saw…...

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