Independent vs Dependent Variable Key Takeaways . In scientific research, we often want to study the effect of one variable on another one. All the best! It represents the cause or reason for an outcome.Independent variables are the variables that the experimenter changes to test their dependent variable. A scientist is testing the effect of light and dark on the behavior of moths by turning a light on and off. A controlled variable is one that you keep the same for all the conditions of your experiment. There may actually be more than one independent variable in an experiment. The independent variable is graphed on the x-axis. Dependent variable that Responds to change goes on the Y axis, Manipulated or Independent variable goes on the X axis. Independent and dependent variables are commonly taught in high school science classes. There may actually be more than one independent variable in an experiment. Without both independent and dependent variables, you would have nothing to compare to one another, and you wouldn’t be able to draw any conclusions from your experiments. The two variables may be related by cause and effect. It’s important to have a control variable because it gives the experiment a baseline to be compared against. We love feedback :-) and want your input on how to make Science Trends even better. Or let’s say you wanted to know if stress levels influenced a person’s attention span. As mentioned above, independent and dependent variables are the two key components of an experiment. The two main variables in a science experiment are the independent variable and the dependent variable. If there were only one dependent variable and many independent variables, it would be difficult to discern which variable was the presumed cause of the change in the dependent variable. 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Independent and dependent variables are related to one another. Your independent variable would be stress, while your dependent variable would be attention span/recall. So you can write out a sentence that reflects the presumed cause and effect in your hypothesis. Dependent variables receive this name because, in an experiment, their values are studied under the supposition or hypothesis that they depend, by some law or rule (e.g., by a mathematical function), on the values of other variables. You want to learn how two variables, items or concepts, are related to one another. In a study to determine the effect of temperature on plant pigmentation, the independent variable (cause) is the temperature, while the amount of pigment or color is the dependent variable (the effect). An independent variable in an experimental setup is the manipulated variable. You would use an independent variable and a dependent variable. She has taught science courses at the high school, college, and graduate levels. The control variable is the variable that isn’t adjusted or manipulated in any fashion. The more experiments you make, the better.” — Ralph Waldo Emerson. In other words, the independent variable is the cause of change in an experiment. Let’s take a closer look at both independent and dependent variables, and discuss why they are so important in the scientific method. Science Trends is a popular source of science news and education around the world. Independent Variable. There are two types of experiments when it comes to any experiment. If you think back to the last science class you took, you probably remember a lot of discussion surrounding variables. In an experiment, you need some type of control. Independent Variable Examples . It is the presumed cause of the changes in the plant’s rate of growth, and a change in the plant’s growth rate won’t impact the chemical makeup of the water. We cover everything from solar power cell technology to climate change to cancer research. The dependent variable is the variable that is dependent upon the independent variable, it is the thing that is impacted or affected by changes to the independent variable. Speaking of cause and effect, the independent variable is your cause. Being able to interpret variables is an important skill that you will need for the GED Science test. Being able to modify a variable is important to study the effects. Let’s say you’re a scientist doing an experiment. The independent variable is the factor that you purposely change or control in order to see what effect it has. While an experiment may have multiple dependent variables, it is often wisest to focus the experiment on one dependent variable so that the relationship between it and the independent variable can be clearly isolated. Here's the definition on independent variable and a look at how it's used: An independent variable is defines as the variable that is changed or controlled in a scientific experiment. An easy way to keep the two variables straight is to use the acronym DRY MIX, which stands for: Dr. Helmenstine holds a Ph.D. in biomedical sciences and is a science writer, educator, and consultant. Variables are anything that changes during the course of an experiment, and they come in the following two varieties: Independent: An independent variable is the condition that the researcher chooses to change. Want more Science Trends? The independent variable is the variable that can be controlled and changed; the dependent variable is directly affected by the change in the independent variable.