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Outline and evaluate research into the effects of leading questions on the accuracy of eyewitness testimony (8 marks)

This question carries 4 A01 marks and 4 A02 marks.

The A01 for this question will mainly come from studies such as Loftus et al. Students could include experiments such as Loftus (1975) where participants were asked misleading questions on a video of a sports car. Another study they could include is Loftus and Zanni (1975), where 2 groups of participants were asked if they saw "the" or "a" broken headlight in a film clip of a car crash.

Students should include a brief but detailed accounts of studies, stating what the results indicate about the effects of leading questions. E.g. "This study provides strong evidence that leading questions can alter memory".

There is a depth/breath trade off in the mark scheme, so for an 8 mark question students should aim for 2-4 studies. If less studies are included, then these should be written in more detail.

For A02, student should first try to evaluate the specific studies they have included in the A01. For example, an issue with Loftus' research is that using a film clip is artificial and therefore results may not be generalisable to real life. Participants in a real life situations may not be paying as close attention, and would also not be prepared to witness a car crash.

Students could also pick up on ethical points, e.g. witnessing a car accident may cause psychological distress. Students should be careful to relate any ethics points back to the question, and not just put statements such as "The experiment was unethical because it caused distress".

Students could also discuss issues such as informed consent, which Loftus couldn't give as if the participants knew that they were going to be misled, this would affect the validity of the experiment.

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