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# dependent variable

[ dih-**pen**-d*uh*nt **vair**-ee-*uh*-b*uh*l ]

## noun

*Mathematics.*a variable in a functional relation whose value is determined by the values assumed by other variables in the relation, as*y*in the relation*y*= 3*x*2 . Compare independent variable ( def 1 ).*Statistics.*(in an experiment) the event studied and expected to change when the independent variable is changed. Compare independent variable ( def 2 ), control variable ( def 1 ).

dependent variable

## noun

- a variable in a mathematical equation or statement whose value depends on that taken on by the independent variable
*in "y = f(x)", "y'"is the dependent variable* - psychol statistics the variable measured by the experimenter. It is controlled by the value of the independent variable, of which it is an index

dependent variable

/ dĭ-pĕn**′**dənt /

- In mathematics, a variable whose value is determined by the value of an independent variable. For example, in the formula for the area of a circle,
*A*= π*r*^{2},*A*is the dependent variable, as its value depends on the value of the radius (*r*). - Compare independent variable

## Word History and Origins

Origin of dependent variable^{1}

## Compare Meanings

How does *dependent variable* compare to similar and commonly confused words? Explore the most common comparisons:

## Example Sentences

The dependent variable — the thing that may change in response — is how dirty the food gets.

The thing that may change in response is the dependent variable.

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## More About Dependent Variable

### What is a *dependent* *variable*?

In the context of scientific experiments, a *dependent variable *is the thing or situation being studied that you expect to change based on the choices you make during the experiment.

In general, a variable is called a *variable* because it can vary. It’s any factor that could change or be changed. In the context of scientific experiments, there are three different types of variables: *dependent variables*, *independent variables*, and *control variables*. *Independent variables* are the factors that you change to see how they affect the results. *Dependent variables* are things that are affected by the changes that you make—the results of the tests (which *depend* on the independent variables). *Control variables* are the factors that you do not change. They are kept the same for every test or measurement in order to make sure that the results can be compared fairly.

For example, let’s say you’re trying to figure out which brand of plant food will help a sunflower grow to the tallest height. The *dependent variable* is the final height of the sunflower. The *independent variable* (the factor that you change) is the brand of plant food. There are a number of other factors that could impact the growth of the plant, including things like the amount of sunlight and the amount of water. To allow for a proper comparison of the results, these need to be *control variables*—they need to be controlled, or kept the same. This way, you can have a greater degree of certainty that the final difference in heights (the *dependent variable*) is due to which food each sunflower received (the *independent variable*), not differences in sunlight or water.

### Why are *dependent* *variables* important?

Science is messy. We like to think of experimentation as a simple process of “change one thing and record what happens,” but in reality, every possible subject of study has dozens of different factors that can impact the results. The *dependent variable *is the thing being impacted.

Scientists are trained to be careful when setting all the variables for an experiment. It’s important to keep track of the independent variables and control variables so you know why the *dependent variable* was affected in the way that it was.

Understanding the importance of variables will make you more likely to draw sound conclusions and less likely to fall for claims based on faulty science. For example, when examining suspicious statistics or experiment results, a good place to start is to ask what independent variables were involved—what was changed to get the *dependent variable *to change.

### Did you know … ?

The term *dependent variable* is used in the context of formal scientific experiments, but you use the same concept all the time without thinking about it. The process of trial and error involves trying new methods of doing something until you get the results you want. The new methods are the independent variables and the results of each attempt are the *dependent variables*.

### What are real-life examples of *dependent* *variables*?

Every experiment has a *dependent variable*, regardless of what is being studied. The *dependent variable* is the whole point of performing an experiment.

<iframe loading="lazy" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/iaewZmc4TYQ" width="560" height="315" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"></iframe>

Students experiment with different-material balls (independent variable) and same dropping distance (control variable), to determine height of the bounce (dependent variable). Good work, 6White Science students. @cjhdragons #d26embracethejourney pic.twitter.com/1QBWjD0aQS

— Sarah Edwards, BS, MA (@safetysarah11) October 1, 2019

### What other words are related to *dependent* *variable*?

### Quiz yourself!

**True or False? **

In an experiment, the *dependent variable* is the one that changes based on the different factors of the experiment.

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