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Reconstruction of Automobile destruction

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Presentation on theme: "Reconstruction of Automobile destruction"— Presentation transcript:

1 Reconstruction of Automobile destruction
Elizabeth F. Loftus and John C. Palmer (1974)

2 Please read the title and look at the picture
Try to remember both


4 Curtains in a window

5 Bottle

6 Crescent moon

7 Beehive

8 Eye-glass

9 Seven

10 Ship’s wheel

11 Hour glass

12 Kidney bean

13 Pine tree

14 Gun

15 Two


17 Please read the title and look at the picture
Try to remember both


19 Diamond in a rectangle

20 Stirrup

21 Letter “C”

22 Hat

23 Dumbbells

24 Four

25 Sun

26 Table

27 Canoe

28 Trowel

29 Broom

30 Eight


32 Please draw as many of the pictures as you can
Please write ‘1st group’ or ‘2nd group’ on your paper

33 Experiment Please hand your drawing to a member of the other group
Check to see whether the drawing looks like one of a pair of objects

34 Curtains in a window or Diamond in a rectangle Bottle or stirrup
Crescent moon or letter “C” Beehive or hat Eye-glass or Dumbbells Seven or Four Ship’s wheel or Sun Hour glass or Table Kidney bean or Canoe Pine tree or Trowel Gun or Broom Two or Eight

35 Reconstruction of Automobile destruction
Elizabeth F. Loftus and John C. Palmer (1974)

36 Theory People are not good at reporting numerical details, such as time, speed and distance (Bird 1927). Marshall (1969) found that participants gave speed estimates ranging between 10 and 50 mph for a car travelling at 12mph!

37 Theory (Block 1974) Because people are poor at estimating they can be easily influenced by questioning, for example. In courts of law leading questions can not be asked. Fillmore (1971) found that the words `hit' and `smashed' could affect the estimated speed.

38 Experiment 1 Method 45 students in groups of various sizes
Would the results generalise? Are they just trying to please their teacher?

39 7 films from the local safety council and police
second film clips, of car accidents. Not really like a real accident, therefore lacks ecological validity After a written account of each accident was given by each student, a series of questions was asked. The critical question was one about the estimated speed of the vehicles.

40 Experiment 1 - Method What was the purpose of the written account?
Did this affect the results? Loftus & Palmer fail to report any details of what was written What data could have been obtained from these accounts?

41 Experiment 1 - Method 5 groups of 9 students. Group sizes rather small
Between 15 and 20 in each group is usually sufficient Each group had a different version of the critical question.

42 Experimental Conditions
1. About how fast were the cars going when they hit each other? 2. About how fast were the cars going when they smashed each other? 3. About how fast were the cars going when they collided with each other? 4. About how fast were the cars going when they bumped into each other? 5. About how fast were the cars going when they contacted with each other?

43 Independent Variable Different wording of the questions

44 Dependent Variable Speed estimates

45 Experiment 1 - method The time taken to conduct the experiment was about one hour and a half. Films were presented to the participants in different orderings

46 Experiment 1 - Results

47 Experiment 1 - Results These differences are significant at p is less than This means that less than five in every thousand times this experiment is run could the results possibly be owing to chance factors As chance results are unlikely we reject our null hypothesis

48 Experiment 1 - Hypothesis
It is predicted that there will be a significant difference between speed estimates depending upon the verb used in the question about speed. This is known as a two-tailed experimental hypothesis because we are just predicting a difference without saying which verb has the greatest effect on speed estimation.

49 Experiment 1 - Did the actual speed of the cars affect the estimate

50 Experiment 1 - Discussion
1. The participant is not sure of the speed so the verb provides the answer. 2. The verb changes the memory representation.

51 The results of experiment 1 suggest a research question for experiment 2.
If the memory representation is changed then we might expect the participant to ‘see’ other things that were not actually there.

52 Experiment 2 - Method 150 students were shown a film of a multiple car crash The film lasted one minute, but the action was just 4 seconds long. Three groups of 50 students were used. All students were asked to give a written description of the car accident A series of questions was asked

53 Experiment 2 - Critical questions
· One group was asked: `About how fast were the cars going when they smashed into each other?' · The second group was asked `About how fast were the cars going when they hit each other?' · The third group were not asked about the speed.

54 One week later The participants returned
They did not see the film again They were again asked a series of ten questions about the film The critical question was “Did you see any broken glass?” The participants checked a box labelled ‘yes’ or a box labelled ‘no’.

55 Experiment 2 - Method The critical question appeared randomly in different positions There was no broken glass in the film

56 Experiment 2 - Results Significant at p<0.05

57 Experiment 2 - Results Significant at p<0.025

58 Probability of saying that there was broken glass
The verb ‘smashed’ affects speed estimate in a way that lies beyond saying that because ‘smashed’ suggests the cars were going fast when they crashed there must have been glass.

59 Experiment 2 - Discussion
Over time, perhaps, we are unable to tell the difference between information processed during perception and information received later.

60 Implications If eye witnesses are so inaccurate then we must not allow a person to be convicted just on the basis of an eye witness report. Leading questions in court should also be avoided.

61 Criticisms Lacks ecological validity - not a real crash, paying attention Participants - students, young and intelligent, eager to please their lecturers Demand characteristics - they knew they were being studied May not be memory but just guess work based on information supplied


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