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# independent variable

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

## noun

*Mathematics.*a variable in a functional relation whose value determines the value or values of other variables, as*x*in the relation*y*= 3*x*2 . Compare dependent variable ( def 1 ).*Statistics.*(in an experiment) a variable that is intentionally changed to observe its effect on the dependent variable. Compare dependent variable ( def 2 ), control variable ( def 1 ).

independent variable

## noun

- Also calledargument a variable in a mathematical equation or statement whose value determines that of the dependent variable: in
*y*= f(*x*),*x*is the independent variable - Also calledpredictor statistics the variable which an experimenter deliberately manipulates in order to observe its relationship with some other quantity, or which defines the distinct conditions in an experiment See also experimental condition

independent variable

/ ĭn′dĭ-pĕn**′**dənt /

- In mathematics, a variable whose value determines the value of other variables. For example, in the formula for the area of a circle,
*A*= π*r*^{2},*r*is the independent variable, as its value determines the value of the area (*A*). - Compare dependent variable

## Word History and Origins

Origin of independent variable^{1}

## Compare Meanings

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

## Example Sentences

How long the food lays on the floor is the independent variable.

The thing that the person manipulates is the independent variable.

In an idealized scenario where the only independent variable is time, the second law is effectively an “ordinary differential equation,” which one can solve to calculate the position or velocity of the object at any moment in time.

We took the independent variables and measured it against the fatalities.

Pains and pleasures give us what mathematicians call the 'independent variable.'

Let x be the independent variable, y the correlative variable which depends upon it.

In other words, mind cannot exist as an "independent variable" in the world; it must always accompany a human brain.

An ordinary differential equation involves only one independent variable, a partial differential equation involves more than one.

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## More About Independent Variable

### What is an *independent* *variable*?

In the context of scientific experiments, an *independent variable *is a factor that you change to see how it affects the results.

So, for instance, if you’re measuring how effective a medication is, *independent variables* could include the amount of dosage, how frequently it’s taken, and the characteristics of each test subject, such as their age and weight.

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. *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 *independent* *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 variables. The one thing that you change is the *independent variable*.

Scientists are trained to be careful when setting all the variables for an experiment. It’s especially important to keep track of the *independent variables* so you know how you arrived at the results that you did.

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 results.

### Did you know … ?

The term *independent 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 *independent* *variables*?

*Independent variables* are crucial elements of any experiment, regardless of what is being studied.

<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 *independent* *variable*?

### Quiz yourself!

**True or False? **

In an experiment, the *independent variable* is the one that you change.

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