# Loftus And Zanni 1975

This sample essay on Loftus And Zanni 1975 offers an extensive list of facts and arguments related to it. The essay’s introduction, body paragraphs, and the conclusion are provided below.

This experiment is based on an experiment carried out by Loftus and Zanni. In this experiment they showed participants a video of a car crash and asked them to remember the things on it. They then asked the participants questions using indefinite and definite articles.

The aim of this experiment was to see how the use of a definite or indefinite article can affect the answers that participants give when asked about what they have seen in a selection of pictures.

The alternative hypothesis was that the use of a definite article would in fact produce a different answer from the participants than the use of an indefinite article. It was predicted that the use of a definite article is more likely to return a positive answer from the participant, whereas an indefinite article is least likely to return a positive answer from the participant.

The null hypothesis was that the use of a definite or indefinite article would in fact have no difference on the answers given by the participants.

### Loftus And Zanni 1975

This was an experiment. It used repeated measures. The target population was students over the age of 16 at King Edward VI sixth form in Morpeth in the North East of England. The sampling method was non random opportunity sampling and seven participants were chosen.

The mean for a definite article is as follows:

Yes = 4.4

No = 2.6

The mean for an indefinite article is as follows

Yes = 1.6

No = 5.4

In this experiment the alternative hypothesis was accepted and the null hypothesis was rejected as the results showed that that people make more mistakes is asked “did you see the…” than if asked “did you see a …” therefore this suggests that whether a definite or indefinite article is used in a question can affect the answer given.

Introduction

Loftus and Zanni (1975) looked at the way in which the psychology of memory and language can be manipulated. Their goal was to find out if there was a difference in the participants response when a definite or indefinite article was used.

They selected one hundred participants and showed them a film of a car accident. The participants were then asked to fill out a 22 item questionnaire which contained six “critical” questions. For half of the participants the six critical questions started with “did you see a…” while for the other half of the students the questions began with “did you see the…”. The “a” being indefinite and the “the” being definite.

The results showed that 15% of the participants answered yes when the definite article was used and with the indefinite article 7% answered no.

This experiment shows that you can change the way that people react to questions just by using definite or indefinite articles in the question. When using a definite article you are misleading the participant as it suggests that what you are saying is actually true.

This is unethical as this technique could be used in the court room to make witnesses say they saw something that they in fact did not see.

Aim:

The aim of this experiment is to see how the use of a definite or indefinite article can affect the answers that participants give when asked about what they have seen in a selection of pictures.

Alternative hypothesis:

The use of a definite article would in fact produce a different answer from the participants than the use of an indefinite article. It is predicted that the use of a definite article is more likely to return a positive answer from the participant, whereas an indefinite article is least likely to return a positive answer from the participant.

Null hypothesis:

The use of a definite or indefinite article will in fact have no difference on the answers given by the participants.

Design

The independent variable in this experiment was whether or not a definite or indefinite article was used. In this case the definite article was the word ‘the’ and the indefinite article was the word ‘a’. The dependant variable was the number of participants that said they saw something that was not actually there just because the question was asked using a definite article rather than an indefinite article.

An extraneous variable is something that could affect the results of the experiment. An extraneous variable for this experiment could have been if there was a window in the room then the participant may have been distracted by what was going on outside the room and therefore not be able to concentrate fully on the experiment and therefore having a negative effect on the DV. This was controlled by closing the blinds and doors in the room in which the experiment took place to keep all distractions to a minimum.

An ethical issue in this study was informed consent. Informed consent is where the researcher gets the signature of the participants to say that they are willing to take part in the experiment and that they understand what is going to happen in the experiment.

The participants were asked for their consent in the brief of the experiment and were asked for their signature therefore making the experiment more ethical as they have given informed consent.

Participants:

The target population was students over the age of 16 at King Edward VI sixth form in Morpeth in the North East of England.

The sampling method used is known as ‘non random opportunity sampling’ Non opportunity sampling is where the researcher takes advantage of having some participants available to include in the research. This is simply made up of people that are available and willing. The reason that this method of sampling was used is that it is quick, easy and free. It is straight forward as it takes no preparation as the researcher can just pick who they want straight away without having to go through any sort of process. Seven participants were selected using this sampling method.

Apparatus and Materials:

In this experiment 5 different pictures were used so that questions could be asked about them using the indefinite and definite articles mentioned earlier.

Procedure

Brief:

By taking part in this investigation you are agreeing to partake in an investigation into how the use of definite or indefinite articles in a question affects the answer a participant gives. You will not be deceived in any way during this experiment and it is completely anonymous. You will not be emotionally or physically harmed by taking part in this investigation and you have the right to withdraw yourself and your results at any time. A signature is required for proof of consent however your name will not be used in any way to keep anonymity.

Method:

The participants were sat down one by one at a table with nothing but a piece of paper and a pen on it. Before the experiment began the participants were given the brief. In the brief it was explained what would be happening in the experiment and since there was no deception involved there was no need for the issue to be addressed. The participants were asked to sign a piece of paper and print their name next to it to say that they gave their consent to participate in the experiment. All blinds in the room were closed and any computer screens were turned off to get rid of any distractions. After this 5 different pictures were shown one after the other (each being held up for 5 seconds) to the participants. Once all of the pictures had been shown the same process was repeated to make sure that the participants had seen all the pictures well. After this the participant was asked five questions containing a definite article and 5 questions containing an indefinite article by the researcher who recorded the answers on the piece of paper. Each question was about whether or not they could recall a certain thing in the set of pictures.