IB Psychology HL Internal Assessment

An experiment to investigate the effect of leading questions on eyewitness testimony



"andidate num#er: $$%&'()$$(% chool: *u#ai American Academy *ate of su#mission: +ay ,$%.ord count: A#stract /he aim of this experiment was to investigate the effects of intensity or harshness of ver#s included in leading questions on accuracy memory of eyewitness testimony0 /he investigation was a modified replication of the study #y Loftus and Palmer 1%2'-30 /he selected ver#s used in the leading questions are either contacted or smashed0 /he hypothesis predicted that ver#s with harsher meaning and stronger connotation they have4 the faster the speed estimations will #e predicted0

$$230 *epending on the perspective and #ias toward an event4 eyewitnesses may have the distorted and altered pg0 %% pg0 %.3 demonstrates how memory is not an accurate record of humans= experiences0 In the study4 British participants were as7ed to retell /he .5sing opportunity sample procedure4 ( female and ( male participants were found from the target population of *AA freshmen #etween ages %& to %(0 /he independent varia#les were the ver#s in the critical question in the questionnaire0 /he experiment was conducted in a classroom and participants were randomly divided into two conditions4 depending on the version of questionnaire each of them got0 /he +ann).ar of the >hosts4 a Native American story4 where their reproduction of the story #ecame coherent due to either omission or change of details0 /his is mainly #ecause of participants= unfamiliarity toward Native American culture4 resulting in memory change0 /hrough this experiment4 Bartlett developed the schema theory4 stating that schema helps to simplify4 interpret the information4 and ma7e the world more predicta#le with existing 7nowledge 1+cLeod4 .ord count: %8$ Index Introduction +ethod ) *esign ) Participants ) +aterials ) Procedures :esults ) *escriptive ) Inferential *iscussion :eferences Appendices Introduction In the cognitive level of psychology4 memory is one important cognitive process that has #een studied commonly among psychologists and can #e defined as the capacity to store4 retain and retrieve information 1+cLeod4 .hitney 5 test showed that results were not significant at a (6 level of significance0 /hat is4 the experimental hypothesis stating that the harsher the ver# in the leading question4 the greater the car speed estimation in 7ph of the participants was contradicted0 .$$230 /his concept of how memory can #e changed is important to consider in the human society when dealing with eyewitness testimony in ?ury courts 1+cLeod4 . pg0 %& pg0 2 pg0 2 pg0 %$ pg0 9 pg0 9 pg0 ' pg0 ' pg0 8 pg0 - . thus memory can #e inaccurate and unrelia#le0 A research #y <rederic Bartlett 1%2&.$$'30 Although humans often use and rely on their memories to recall certain events or information4 several psychological experiments have #een conducted to show how memory is reconstructive and can even #e configured #y external factors4 such as individual #iases.

E &EC or BIn terms of the total num#er of products4 how many other products have you triedE %E (E %$EC u#?ects= responses to first question averaged &0& different products whereas the responses to latter question averaged (0.ord count: 99% +ethod *esign /he independent sample design was chosen in order to minimiFe the order effect and attain more accurate results4 and the experiment was done in a la#oratory control to gain more control over the varia#les and esta#lish a clear cause)and)effect relationship #etween the independent and dependent varia#les0 I If participants had done the #oth conditions and answered #oth versions of questionnaires4 due to the order effect4 the participants would find out the patterns #etween two conditions4 guess the hypothesis of the study4 and remem#er their speed estimation in the first trial4 influencing the outcome of second control0 Independent sample design also has another strength of not getting the participants to #e tedious and #ored of repeating the process.$$230 /his raises an important point a#out how investigating on the accuracy of memory is necessary and essential4 as relying on inaccurate eyewitness testimonies can lead to inappropriate and severe consequences 1:eich @r0 %22&30 Ane of the studies done #y :ichard Harris 1%2'&3 investigated how leading questions4 which are 7nown as questions that suggest what answer is desired or lead to the desired answer4 can alter the memory recall of a numeric measurement0 5sing the pair of quantitative ad?ectives of BtallC and BshortC4 the su#?ects were as7ed either of the questions D BHow tall was the #as7et#all playerEC or BHow short was the #as7et#all playerEC /he results from participants who answered former question with tall ad?ective estimated around %$ inches taller than the other participants0 /his suggests how the use of different ad?ectives in the questions can change what the participants witnessed4 their perspective4 and memory0 Another research done #y !liFa#eth Loftus 1%2'(3 demonstrated how the leading questions distort individuals= memories of past personal experience4 and as7ed -$ participants a#out their headaches under #elief that they were participating in research of products they used0 u#?ects were given one of two questions: BIn terms of the total num#er of products4 how many other products have you triedE %E . repeatedly watching the video of car accident would not #e an .information4 which can lead to giving a wrong report and influence to ?ury=s diction 1+cLeod4 .0. different products0 <or the second set of questions4 participants were as7ed either of two questions ) G*o you get headaches frequently0 If so4 how oftenEG or G*o you get headaches occasionally0 If so4 how oftenEG An average4 the GfrequentlyG group responded . headachesHwee7 while the BoccasionallyC group reported $0' headachesHwee70 !xperimental hypothesis: /he harsher the ver# in the leading question4 the greater the car speed estimation in 7ph of the participants0 Null hypothesis: /he harshness of the ver# in the leading question will have no influence on car speed estimation in 7ph of the participants0 If there are any changes found4 they will #e due to chance0 .

: tandardiFed #riefing instructions K ee Appendix &: tandardiFed instructions for participantsL tandardiFed #riefing instructionsL %$ copies of Muestionnaire version % K ee Appendix -: Muestionnaire version %L %$ copies of Muestionnaire version .$ copies of consent forms K ee Appendix %: Participant Informed "onsent formL tandardiFed instructions for participants K ee Appendix .L tandard de#riefing instructions K ee Appendix 9: % video of automo#ile accident 1sourceEE3 % promethean #oard % pro?ector % quiet classroom % stop watch tandardiFed de#riefing instructionsL Procedure %0 /he .& participants received informed consent forms K ee Appendix %: Participant Informed "onsent formL one wee7 #efore the experiment4 so that #oth participants and .$3 #etween ages %& and %( with a variety of ethnic #ac7grounds4 turned in their informed consents and agreed to participate0 +aterials ) ) ) ) ) ) ) ) ) ) ) . K ee Appendix (: Muestionnaire version .accurate representation of real eyewitness testimony4 as most eyewitness testimonies happen instantly rather than paying attention and watching repeatedly0 <or these reasons4 the independent sample design was more appropriate in this study in order to get more accurate data0 *emand characteristic Independent varia#le: use of ver#s associated with car crash *ependent varia#le: speed estimation of car crash Participants /he target population of this experiment was grades nine and ten students with a variety of ethnic #ac7grounds at *u#ai American Academy0 Apportunity sample procedure was used to find the participant sample within the target population and this was a convenient and efficient technique as participants were chosen #ased on their availa#ility and willingness to participate in the experiment0 /he participants were required to #e fluent in !nglish language to #e a#le to understand the instructions4 and they should not #e psychology students nor have participated in another experiment of the same study4 as they might 7now the aim of the experiment and provide inaccurate results0 /he participants4 in which %$ were #oys and %$ were girls 1NJ.

&099-&%2%& N NJ%$ NJ%$ <igure %: +ean estimations in conditions GcontactedG and GsmashedG .L0 Participants /he same researcher read the standardiFed instructions to 7eep the conduction /he video of the automo#ile accident was played4 and immediately after4 the part in the experiment.28% .0 &0 -0 (0 90 An the experiment day4 participants with signed consent forms were permitted to ta7e /he researchers randomly assign seats to the participants and the participants Participants were #riefed K ee Appendix (: Muestionnaire version .ord count: 9'' :esults *escriptive /he experiment collected ratio data0 /herefore4 mean was chosen for the measure of central tendency4 and standard deviation was chosen for measure of dispersion0 <rom the mean value on ta#le %4 it can #e deduced that the condition with the ver# contacted resulted in a higher mean of speed estimations than the smashed condition did0 /he high standard deviations 120( and .&0'3 showed that the data were very dispersed4 particularly for the smashed condition0 /a#le %: +ean and "ondition "ontacted mashed tandard *eviation scores in BcontactedC and BsmashedC conditions +ean 17ph3 888 tandard deviation 20-898&.parents of participants who are under %9 had sufficient time to agree with the terms and sign the form0 . participants who did not provide signed consent forms were dismissed0 randomly seated at des7s in a classroom and provided with a pencil each on the des70 as7ed questions for any clarifications and were told to withdraw from the study if desired0 consistent0 questionnaires were randomly distri#uted to participants4 such that ten participants randomly received the questionnaire with the ver# Nsmashed= in the leading question4 and the other ten participants got the ver# Ncontacted=0 '0 80 20 Muestionnaires were collected and standardiFed de#riefing notes were read ay things a#out confidentiality D @ustification 1what was doneHsummary of Participants were than7ed4 the researchers left the room4 and the responses to the standardiFed instruction3 leading question in the questionnaires were analyFed0 Include standardiFed instructions included in the procedure0 1#efore during and after the experiment30 tate 1type of3 design part in the procedure *e#riefing was said so that0 And deception was referred4 which allowed the overall aim to #e met and decrease .

hitney 5 value4 the experiment showed that there is no significance in the relationship found #etween the two averaged car speed estimations with the manipulation of the ver# in the leading question.'0 ince the calculated o#served value4 -.'4 the results are not significant0 /hus4 we accepted the null hypothesis and re?ected the experimental hypothesis0 PP *iscussion /he small difference of .hitney 5)test was used to compare the results #etween the conditions contacted and smashed0 <rom the ta#le for critical values 5)test at (6 level 1p O $0$(3 of the +ann).hitney test for a None)tailed test=4 the critical value found for / 1%$3 is .7ph in the results4 where the participant group with the ver# smashed 1887ph3 had a slightly higher average of speed estimations4 could may #e interpreted that there may have #een an impact of the critical ver#s to a small extent0 However4 #ased on the o#tained results of two average speed estimations and calculated +ann).Inferential ince this experiment used an independent measure design and the data was ratio4 a +ann) .4 is greater than the critical value . a small difference found #etween them is not significant and it may have happened due to chance0 +ore participants could #e involved in the experiment in a future experiment to achieve a more accurate data so that the results represent the target population0 /hough the differences #etween two conditions we o#tained were not significant enough4 we still o#tained a result that goes toward a similar direction to some extent4 as participant group with the ver# smashed 1887ph3 had a slightly higher average of speed estimations0 /his correlates to the study #y Harris 1%2'&34 #ecause it also demonstrates how the different ad?ectives influenced the recall of the numeric measurements4 which is the height of other participants4 #ased on what they o#served0 Harris= findings showed that the ad?ective tall influenced the participants= schemas to thin74 understand cognitively4 and give #igger measurement than the participants who were as7ed with the ad?ective short0 In addition4 a video4 which was not as realistic as the actual event that would happen in a classroom0 *uring the course of the experiment4 as participants were familiar with each other and the des7s were organiFed in ta#le groups4 those who were done with the questionnaire earlier started to have small giggling and side conversations with each other0 Although there were efforts to stop them4 the researchers #elieve interfering them distracted other participants furthermore0 If can #e modified if the participants were seated completely separately where the des7s are configured and separated4 the structure of the classroom would not give Lastly4 the questionnaires were very inefficient0 Although there were ten questions included in each questionnaire to avoid demand characteristics and participants to guess what answers the researchers are expecting4 the questionnaires were too long and the unnecessary questions led participants to ta7e the question with speed estimation less seriously4 as they were too tired to respond all of other ones with detailed answer4 and thus giving not as much .

$$'30 +emory4 !ncoding torage and :etrieval0 :etrieved from http:HHwww0simplypsychology0orgHmemory0html +cLeod4 0 A0 1.30 :emem#ering: A tudy in !xperimental and ocial Psychology0 "am#ridge4 5Q: "am#ridge 5niversity Press0 Loftus4 !0 <0 1%2'(30 Leading Muestions and the !yewitness :eport0 "ognitive Psychology0 Loftus4 !0 <04 R Palmer4 @0 "0 1%2'-30 :econstruction of Automo#ile *estruction: An !xample of the Interaction #etween Language and +emory0 @ournal of Ser#al Learning and Ser#al Behavior0 Harris4 :0 @0 1%2'&30 Answering questions containing mar7ed and unmar7ed ad?ectives and adver#s0 @ournal of !xperimental Psychology0 :eich4 :0 :0 1%22&30 /he eyewitness imperfect interface #etween stimuli and story0 :etrieved from http:HHwww0ufo0itHtestiHreich0htm +cLeod4 0 A0 1. this can #e seen in the high standard deviation of smashed condition0 /he questionnaires could #e further modified #y ma7ing them more concise and easier to answer in order give equal importance to each question while still avoiding demand characteristic and #y giving participants a choice of either answering in mph or 7ph for participants to choose whichever unit they are comforta#le to estimate in0 :eferences Bartlett4 <0 "0 1%2&.$$230 !yewitness /estimony ) imply Psychology0 :etrieved from http:HHwww0simplypsychology0orgHeyewitness)testimony0html .effort in the estimation as they would have otherwise0 ome of participants commented that the questionnaire was too long to answer and many others were not a#le to give any estimation as they were too caught up in answering other ones0 Another limitation found in the questionnaire was that as the target population was freshmen and not everyone is familiar with the speed or the unit of 7ilometers per hour4 this confusion further contri#uted to the cause of diversity and impreciseness to the estimations.$$'30 "ognitive Approach in Psychology0 :etrieved from http:HHwww0simplypsychology0orgHcognitive0html +cLeod4 0 A0 1.

atch a short video 1approximately .Appendices Appendix %: Participant Informed "onsent form Participant Informed "onsent <orm Please read the following information to ensure an understanding of the conditions of this study0 Participants are required to: ) ) ) ) ) . minutes long3 :espond to a questionnaire containing %$ questions /he experiment will #e conducted so that no participants will #e harmed physically or All participants will remain anonymous4 and information a#out participants will remain All participants will #e de#riefed at the end of the experiment and #e given the opportunity hould I choose to participate4 I agreeHac7nowledge that: ) ) ) ) I am an underclassman attending *u#ai American Academy I have #een informed of my role as a participant in this experiment I have the right to withdraw at any time during the study If any minor deception conducted4 it is essential to the findings of the experiment /he researchers will ensure that: psychologically confidential to see7 the experimental findings I have read and agreed to the terms of this study4 and give my informed consent to participate in this study0 Name: TTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTT ignature 1if you are %9 or younger4 please as7 a parent or guardian3: TTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTT *ate: TTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTT /han7 youP .

3 At any time of this experiment you have the right to withdrawal and your results will not #e ta7en into consideration0 &3 If the instructions are unclear or deceiving please raise your hand and as70 -3 /he video will now #e played once0 (3 Now we will #e handing out the questioner4 start filling it out at our command0 93 Uou have %$ minutes to fill out our survey and please focus on your own survey0 '3 .e will now collect the survey and pac7 up our experiment0 /han7 you for your participation0 23 Uou will now #e de#riefed0 .: tandardiFed instructions for participants %3 /hose of you who have not agreed to the consent form please exit the room0 .Appendix .

please listen carefully and follow the instructions as you are told0 /he essential requirements of this experiment are that you watch a short video4 and then respond to the entire questionnaire0 *o not communicate in any way to participants near you for the duration of this experiment0 :osa will de#rief you at the end of experiment4 and you are welcome to as7 questions if any clarification is needed0 .Appendix &: tandardiFed Briefing Note /han7 you all for giving us your time to participate in our psychology experiment0 Uou must have a signed consent form to participate in this experiment0 If you change your mind or feel uncomforta#le at any stage4 you may withdraw from the experiment0 :omana will #e providing instructions.

what do you .0 &0 -0 V V V (0 90 '0 80 20 doE %$0 *id you see any #ro7en glassE 1please circle3 Ues No *o you have any driving experienceE *id the accident occur in a rural4 ur#an or su#ur#an settingE .hat was the strongest emotion you felt after watching the clipE 1please circle3 @oy Anger !xcitement How many people were present in the clipE .Appendix -: Muestionnaire version % %0 I0 II0 III0 .hat colors were the cars involved in the accidentE A#out how fast were the cars going4 in 7ph4 when they contacted each otherE A#out how long did the video lastE Uou are a pedestrian waiting for the #us and a 9)year)old child crosses the street List & words that come to mind when watching this video0 without loo7ing0 A driver not paying attention to the road is a#out to hit the child.

what do you .0 &0 -0 V V V (0 90 '0 80 20 doE %$0 *id you see any #ro7en glassE 1please circle3 Ues No *o you have any driving experienceE *id the accident occur in a rural4 ur#an or su#ur#an settingE .hat colors were the cars involved in the accidentE A#out how fast were the cars going4 in 7ph4 when they smashed each otherE A#out how long did the video lastE Uou are a pedestrian waiting for the #us and a 9)year)old child crosses the street List & words that come to mind when watching this video0 without loo7ing0 A driver not paying attention to the road is a#out to hit the child.hat was the strongest emotion you felt after watching the clipE 1please circle3 @oy Anger !xcitement How many people were present in the clipE . %0 I0 II0 III0 .Appendix (: Muestionnaire version .

e greatly appreciate you for participating and responding to the questionnaires. if you wish to 7now the findings of our experiment4 you are welcome to contact us via email 1email address3 and we will respond as soon as our conclusion has #een made0 /han7 you once again for your participation0 .e used deception4 meaning we did not specify exactly what was #eing investigated to ensure that we o#tain the most accurate results on eyewitness testimony and to minimiFe any confounding or extraneous varia#les0 .Appendix 9: tandardiFed *e#riefing Note /he actual aim of this study was to investigate whether the ver# used in the leading question4 which was question NA#out how fast were the cars going in 7ph when they contacted or smashed each other=4 could influence your speed estimates of the car0 /he ver# used in the leading question was either BcontactedC or BsmashedC depending on which condition you were in0 A significant difference in speed estimations indicates that memory can #e influenced #y the wording of a question0 /hus eyewitness testimonies4 which are official accounts of what individuals have o#served4 can also #e influenced #y the wording of a question and may therefore #e unrelia#le0 .

& ( 9 ' 8 2 %$ +ean tandard *eviation 8$ %$$ 2$ 8$ '( %$$ %$$ 8$ 2$ 8( 88 20-898&.Appendix ': :aw data for condition BcontactedC Participant W % . & ( 9 ' 8 2 %$ +ean tandard *eviation "ar speed estimations %%$ '$ -$ 8$ '$ '$ 8$ %.28% .&099-&%2%& Participant % .$ %$$ %$$ 8.

: Level of significance Ser# in leading question "ontacted mashed Level of dissonance F value Level of significance .Procedure section: sampling method D include what sampling method used in the procedure section0 . experimental groups or % control and % experimental groupE /a#le .