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.

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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