Disclaimer: English Kinda Thing

The sole purpose of the "English Kinda Thing" is to document my attempts to correct my own mistakes in standard English usage and to share the resources I find. In no way do I attempt to teach nobody English through these blurbs--just as I intend not to teach nobody to be a neurotic and psychotic handicap in Ratology Reloaded or Down with Meds! :-)

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Loftus & Palmer (1974). Reconstruction of automobile destruction: An example of the interaction between language and memory

One of the last articles to revisit before closing down on the DWM etc book.  This is a paper I encountered years back, possibly when taking the forensic psychology class at UBC. A classic in the field of eyewitness testimony, I think.

Loftus, E. F., & Palmer, J. C. (1974). Reconstruction of automobile destruction: An example of the interaction between language and memory. Journal of Verbal Learning and Verbal Behavior, 13(5), 585-589.

The following two tables captured the gist of the study. Essentially, participants in the study were shown clips of car accidents.

Table 1 showed us people's estimate of vehicle speed with a question in the form of "About how fast were the cars going when they [verb] each other?" (Please ad the verb of smashed, collided, bumped, hit, and contacted in yourself to complete the sentence.)
What results represented in Table 1 tell us is that the language (verb) used can bias people's recall of incidences and estimates based on the recall.

p. 586
In the experiment associated with Table 2 results, participants viewed a clip involving traffic accident and interrogated about car speed with the verb of "smashed" or "hit." Participants in the control group were not interrogated with the speed question. A week later, participants were requested to respond to the question, "Did you see any broken glass?" while no broken glass was shown in the clip.
Results shown in Table 2, again, indicated that the language used in probing people's recall of past events can have a significant impact on the restructuring and recall of past events.

p. 587

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