Loftus and Plamer Psychology study
By sarcyfish, Updated
Crash boom and bang!!!
45 American students were split into 5 groups of 9 to watch 7 different scenes of car crashes that last from 5 to 30 seconds. After, they were asked how fast the cars were going. The difference between the groups were the verbs used in those questions.
The groups each were asked a question consisting of a different verb. The verbs used were: contacted, hit, bumped, collided and smashed. For example the questionnaire would ask a question like "How fast were the cars going when they collided?" The estimated speed said would be recorded.
The groups gave different speeds for their different questions. On average the answers for the verb "hit" was 34.0, for "contacted" it was 31.8, for "smashed" it was 40.8, for "collided" it was 39.1 and finally for "bumped" it was 38.1.
About 40 mph
How fast were the cars going when they smashed?
This shows that the participants estimates were not related to the actual speed of the vehicle. The verb in the question has more influence. In addition, it shows that people aren't the best at judging the speed of a vehicle.
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