Leading question

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A leading question is a sentence that is presented in an interrogatory form, but provokes (or "leads" to) a particular answer. Leading questions generally take the form of presenting an allegation and asking whether it is true, and often consist of simply an assertion followed by a request for confirmation. For instance, "You like cats, don't you?" Whether something is a leading question, or whether a leading question is legitimate, depends on the context. Studies have shown that extensive use of leading questions can lead to the generation of false memories.[1]

The terms "leading question" and "loaded question" are often confused, and they are frequently used interchangeably to simply mean a question that is dishonest or illegitimate. However, they are different: a leading question merely leads to a particular conclusion, while a loaded question assumes it. For instance, "Have you stopped hitting your wife?" is a frequently cited loaded question; the question assumes that the person has previously hit his wife. A leading version of it would be something like "You've hit your wife, haven't you?"

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[edit] Footnotes

  1. Our changeable memories: legal and practical implications
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