Elizabeth F. Loftus and John C. Palmer carried out a number of experiments with the purpose of discovering the scientific link and interaction between language and memory. For many years, Loftus has focused mainly on how information relates to the wording of a question and visual imagery and how it can influence an individual’s eyewitness testimony. This was demonstrated in the study conducted by Loftus and Palmer in 1974 ‘Reconstruction of Automobile Destruction’ which tested the hypothesis that an eyewitness testimony can be altered by the type of language used. To test this, Loftus and Palmer designed two experiments where the participants viewed a series of videos portraying automobile accidents and were then asked to answer specially …show more content…
The independent variable in this case was the type of questions asked. After a week, more questions were asked about the clip they had previously seen and if they had witnessed any broken glass within the clip. The participants who saw the verb ‘smashed’ were more likely to claim that they saw broken glass than the other groups. Loftus and Palmer concluded that memory can be easily manipulated and distorted by the type of questions asked and that the information can merge with a memory already stored causing inaccuracy. “The results from experiment two suggest that this effect is not just due to a response-bias because leading questions actually altered the memory a participant had for the event.” (McLeod, S, 2014).
During experiment one, Loftus and Palmer used forty-five participants who were split into groups of diverse sizes and were shown seven video clips which all depicted automobile accidents. The clips were segments from a driver’s education film and ranged from five to thirty seconds in length. After each clip, the participants were asked a series of specially generated questions which included the question that asked the participants to recall what they had just seen with other questions that followed. The most critical question asked was about the speed of the vehicles and had the purpose of discovering if the wording of the question impacts the answer the participant gives. For
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One of the reasons that eyewitness evidence is so unreliable is because human memory is very open to suggestion. In fact, just asking about something can alter our memory. (1) For example, in the 80-90’s, many psychotherapists were
An experiment done by Elizabeth Loftus and John Palmer show how word choice plays into the idea of altering witness memory. They showed videos of car collisions to the subjects. There were three different videos, each with the crash happening at different speeds: one at 20 mph, one at 30 mph, and the third at 40 mph. Changing the verbs used in questioning after the video—using things like collision, crashed, or smashed—showed how the answers of the subjects changed as to how fast they thought the cars were upon colliding compared to how fast they were actually going. The verb they used when describing the accident had a greater effect than most people realize, and the more seriously worded the question was, the more serious the subjects believed that the accident was (Loftus). However, it doesn’t even need to be the verb to create the same results. It can be as simple as saying “Did you see the weapon?” instead of “Did you see a weapon?” Saying the implies that there was, in fact, a weapon—whether there actually was or not (Waude 2). “The use of a definite article seems to assure people that an object exists without them needing to question its accuracy.” (Waude 3). Such a small thing as an article difference can have major unintended effects on the
Eyewitness testimonies are based on a person’s ability to recall what took place accurately. Memory research has proven that a person’s memory is not a recording but it is reconstructive. Loftus and Palmer’s study set out to prove that the memory could be reconstructed through the use of language.
The concepts that are covered in the experiment: “Testing the Accuracy of Eyewitness Testimony” are how the memory part of your brain works. Also, the colors that help memorization is also included in this experiment.Another thing that is covered in this experiment is whether or not someone is able to regurgitate information back after 20 minutes. Another thing that is covered in this experiment is the types of memory disorders. Tips on how to keep a healthy memory are also included. Also, the steps to creating a new piece of memory is also covered in this experiment. Another thing that is included in the experiment is the timeline as to how we know memory today got there.
However, factors such as interactions with other witnesses and the influence of media outlets cannot be accounted for. In addition, the small sample size of 13 participants means the results are not as reliable and cannot be generalised to the population at large. One possible factor which may influence the results is that witnesses were within close proximity to the events which transpired which can influence memory as well as not being applicable to many crimes whereby the witnesses only see part of the crime or a shadow of the perpetrator. An alternative explanation would be that flashbulb memory was at work here.
In the late 19th-century research on eyewitness, testimony memory began, psychologists had been studying memory, and the findings became useful for forensic psychology and law. A central issue with studying eyewitness memory and testimony is the ecological validity of lab studies. There are relatively few ‘real world’ eyewitness memory studies, and that causes problems for determining the generalizability of findings in eyewitness memory. Coined by Wells (1978) estimator variables are present at the time of a crime and cannot be changed (i.e. witness characteristics and the type of offence) and system variables are factors that can be manipulated to affect eyewitness accuracy (i.e. line-up procedures and interview types). The system variables
An eyewitness can change the course of an investigation. However, how reliable that can be? People believe that we remember an event as exactly as it was, such as replaying the facts. Elizabeth Loftus is one of the leading researchers in the area of memory, and she found that memories are not accurately re-created. Reconstructing facts from our lives cannot be harmful, but it can be critical when deciding a criminal event. Loftus studies demonstrated that a simple wording question might change the eyewitness answer.
There are many different factors that play a part in the increased chance of a witness correctly identifying a suspect. Such factors should be brought to the attention of the jury and the judge to help in properly assessing whether a witness is correctly identifying a suspect. A study by Magnussen, Melinder, Stridbeck, & Raja (2010) found that of the three different types of people: judge, jury, and general public, that for the most part all where fairly ill-informed on the reliability of eyewitness testimony with judges having the most. Judges only had about an 8% difference in knowledge when compared to jurors. With this information it is very clear that education on the reliability of eyewitness testimony needs to become more of a general knowledge information for the everyone, especially people who are involved in upholding the law. Another factor to look into when evaluating the accuracy eyewitness testimony is the role that memory plays. Memory is divided into three processes: perceiving, remembering, and recalling information (Simmonsen, 2013). There is plenty of room in all three of those stages to forget or falsely remember something. Some factors that play a part when a person perceives an event is the amount of time they are exposed to the event and the suspect. A study conducted by Horry, Halford, Brewer, Milne, & Bull. (2014) found that witnesses were increasingly more likely to correctly identify a suspect if they had been exposed to the suspect for sixty
Eyewitness identification and testimony play a huge role in the criminal justice system today, but skepticism of eyewitnesses has been growing. Forensic evidence has been used to undermine the reliability of eyewitness testimony, and the leading cause of false convictions in the United States is due to misidentifications by eyewitnesses. The role of eyewitness testimony in producing false confessions and the factors that contribute to the unreliability of these eyewitness testimonies are sending innocent people to prison, and changes are being made in order to reform these faulty identification procedures.
An individual’s ability to use have the clearest more accurate memory has always been one of heated debate. False memories from the same constructive process that produces true memories exposing a very concerning fault in our reasoning of memory. This idea of false memory is text in this experiment by using a sequence of 16 words, along with both unrelated and related distractor words. The 43 participant, who is an ungraduated at Hope College enrolled in PSYCH 340, is shown a list of 16 words and asked to recall them. Some of the recalled words were from the original list and some of the others were unrelated or related distractors. It was hypothesized that the related distractor words would be more likely be reported than the unrelated distractor
Procedure - Participants shown seven videos of car crashes ranging from 4 to 30 seconds long. The videos were excerpts from drivers ed courses so the researchers were aware of the speeds of the cars. The videos were shown to the participants in random order. After each video participants were given a questionnaire which asked them to give an account of the film they had seen. Then they were asked to answer some questions based on what they had seen. Most of the questions were 'filler
False memory studies also directly focused on eyewitness testimonies. Gerrie, Belcher and Garry (2006) studied video clips, as they most likely reflect real-life. By omitting either crucial or non-crucial steps they tested what participants were likely to falsely recall. They found that false memory effects did occur for those shown the video with the non-crucial steps missing. These participants were more likely to fill in what was missing and falsely remember non-crucial steps in between. This was found without any external suggestions on what should occur. This can benefit eyewitness testimony as by determining what aspects of a situation are more susceptible can better determine what memories may be false.
An Article Review of “Memory blindness: Altered memory reports lead to distortion in eyewitness memory” by Cochran et al. (2016)
Experiment 1 comprised of Forty-Five students, they were split into groups of various sizes and were shown seven short clips ranging from 5 to 30 seconds of road traffic collisions. Each participant would then receive a questionnaire following each film