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Online Activity: Manipulating Eyewitness Testimony

One study that all Psychology students read about was conducted in Loftus and Palmer in 1974. They showed that participants' recollections of an event can be influenced by the words used to describe that event. This study is informally referred to as the "hit, smash, crash" study.


Now you can have your students go through the study online. Below is a link to an online version of this study in which participants view a brief auto accident and are then asked to estimate the speed of one of the cars just before the accident occurs. At the end of the activity students can compare speed estimates from other students to whom the cars were described differently. Check it out and if you'd like to share this with your students, feel free.  If you'd like a copy of the google files used to create the activity, feel free to contact the Cengage community manager, Michael Britt (


Click here to participate in this online activity.



Inspiration for this activity:

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