Video:What Is a Variable in Psychology Research?with Dr. Robert Reiner
Variables in psychology research are elements in the research that change. Learn more about how variables are properly used in psychology research with this variable.See Transcript
Transcript:What Is a Variable in Psychology Research?
I’m Dr. Robert Reiner from Behavioral Associates in New York City. I’m going to speak to you about the definition of a variable.
Variables in Psychology Research
Variable is a term used in all sorts of research. Since I’m a psychologist, I’ll talk to you about psychological research. Say for example we’re doing an experiment to study the effects of aerobic exercise on how depressed a person is. And, we decide that these ten subjects are going to all begin exercising, and we’re going to see if they’re going to become less depressed. So, the exercise is the independent variable in the experiment. Keep in mind variable always means something varies, it changes.
Expect Change is Measured in Psychology Research
The opposite of that, the opposite of a variable, is something at rest, or standing still, or static. So, the other end of the experiment is we’re trying to figure out if these people are actually less depressed as a result of our independent variable, in this case exercise. We have to measure them. The measure is almost always the dependent variable. Once again, there’s expected change.
An example of a dependent variable here could be self-report: a person saying they feel better. Another might be a bathroom scale. Do they lose weight. Another might be interviewing their friends. Some kind of a checklist or something to see if they’re less depressed or their mood changed as a result. That’s the dependent variable. Once again, remember, a variable means change. It’s usually used in two ways in research. I’m Dr. Robert Reiner from Behavioral Associates in New York City. If you want more information about the definition of variables, go to About.com.