The aim of the experiment was to find out if information supplied after an experiment influences the witness' memory for that event.
The method being used for this experiment is a laboratory experiment.
45 students from the University of Washington were asked to do the first experiment whilst 150 students were asked to do the second experiment.
45 American students which formed the sample for the first experiment were shown slides of a car accident involving a number of cars. After each accident shown they were asked to describe what had happened as if they were eyewitnesses.
They were then asked specific questions about the accidents they witnessed. However the critical question that Loftus and Palmer used for their experiment was,
'About how fast were the cars going when they ***** each other?'
In each of the 5 conditions a different verb was used to fill in the blank.
These five conditions were smashed, collided, bumped, hit and contacted.
The speed estimates for the different verbs given by the students were then recorded into a table and analyzed.
The independent variable was the wording of the question. (E.g. smashed)
The dependant variable was the speed reported by the participants. (E.g. 40mph)
150 students which formed the sample for the second experiment were shown a short (one minute) film which contained a 4 second scene of a car accident. The students were then questioned about it.
The 150 students were divided into groups of three and asked,
'How fast were the cars going when they ***** each other?'
In each of the 2 conditions a different verb was used to fill in the blank. These two conditions were smashed and hit. There was a third condition which resulted in not asking the...