Reconstruction of Automobile Destruction

Document Type
5 pages
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1715 words
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Elizabeth .F. Loftus And John C. Palmer experiment on
“Reconstruction of Automobile Destruction” in year 1974
Loftus and Palmer (1974) conducted a classic experiment to investigate the effect of leading
questions on the accuracy of eyewitness testimony. They conducted two experiments in which all
the participants watched a video of a car crash and were then asked a specific question about the
speed of the cars.
1.They manipulated the verb used in the question, for example: “How fast were they cards going
when they smashed / collided / bumped / hit / contacted with each other? And they found that the
estimated speed was affected by the verb used.
The results clearly show that the accuracy of eyewitness testimony is affected by leading
questions and that a single word in a question can significantly affect the accuracy of our
judgements. In a second experiment, they used a different sample of 150 American students, who
were divided into three even groups. All the students watch a one-minute video depicting a car
accident and were then given a questionnaire to complete. One group was asked: “How fast were
the cars going when they smashed into each other?” Another group was asked: “How fast were
the cars going when they hit each other?” The final group (control) was not asked about the
speed of the vehicles. One week later the participants returned and were asked a series of
questions about the accident. The critical question was: “Did you see any broken glass?” 32% of
the participants who were previously questioned using the verb smashed, reported seeing broken
glass; 14% of the participants who were previously questioned using the verb hit, reported seeing
broken glass; and 12% of the control group reported seeing broken glass. There was no broken
glass in the video clip and the participants who were questioned previously using the verb
smashed, were significantly more likely to report seeing the broken glass, because of the earlier
leading question.
These results are consistent with the view that the questions asked after an event can cause a
reconstruction in one’s memory of that event. They concluded that reconstruction is adaptive and
can result in memory errors and false memories.
William G. Chase and Herbert A. Simon experiment on “Perception in Chess”
in year 1973
Chase and Simon develops a technique for isolating and studying the perceptual structures that
chess players perceive. Three chess players of varying strength - from master to novice - were
confronted with two tasks:
A Perception task, where the player reproduces a chess position in plain view
De Groot’s ( 1965) Short-term recall task, where the player reproduces a chess position after
viewing it for 5 sec.
To test the hypothesis using these two experiments, they used a master chess player, an advanced
chess player, and a beginner.
Twenty games were selected from chess books and magazines to generate the stimuli.
1. Perception Task:
Two chess boards were put side by side in this challenge, separated by roughly 6 inches. On the
subject's left, one of the 28 chess positions was set up, and the second board, which was clear of

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