CR_Ch. 4--Studying Behaviour Flashcards Preview

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Flashcards in CR_Ch. 4--Studying Behaviour Deck (20):

confounding variable

An uncontrolled variable that is impossible to separate from a variable of interest. In an experiment, the experimental groups differ on both the independent variable and the confoudning variable, making conclusions about the effect of the independent variable on the dependent variable impossible.


correlation coefficient

An index of how strongly two varaibles are related to each other.


curvilinear relationship

A relationship in which increases in the value of the first varaible is accompanied by both increases and decreases in the values of the second variable.


dependent variable

The variable that is the participant's response to, and dependent on, the level of the manipulated independent variable.


experimental control

A feature of strong experimental designs. Occurs when only the precise independent variable varies across conditions; all other features of the experiment are the same across conditions.


experimental method

A method of determining whether variables are related, in which the researcher manipulates the independent variable and controls all other variables either by randomization or by direct experimental control.


field experiment

An experiment that is conducted in a natural setting rather than a laboratory setting.


independent variable

The variable that is manipulated to observe its effect on the dependent variable.


internal validity

The certainity with which the results of an experiment can be attributed to the manipulation of the independent variable, rather than to some other confounding variable.


mediating variable

A psychological process that occurs between an event and a behavioural response.


negative linear relationship

A relationship in which increases in the values of the first variable are accompanied by decreases in the values of the second varaible.


non-experimental method (or correlational method)

Use of measurement of variables to determine whether variables are related to one another.


operational definition

Definition of a concept that specifies the operation used to measure or manipulate the concept.


participant variable

A term sometimes used that groups participants on some pre-existing characteristics (e.g., sex, ethnicity, etc.). It is often treated as an independent variable in experimental designs, despite the lack of random assignment.


positive linear relationship

A relationship in which increases in the values of the first variable are accompanied by increases in the values of the second variable.


random assignment

Controlling for the effects of extraneous variables by ensuring that participants in an experiment are assigned to a condition in a manner determined entirely by chance.


response variable

Operational definitions that invlove recording participant's reaction to some event (e.g., reaction time, attitudes, choice, action, etc.).


situational variable

A characteristic of some event or environment (e.g., lighting conditions, a question's wording, a confederate's actions, etc.).



When describing the relationship between two variables, a third variable is any other variable that is extraneous to the two variables of interest. True experiments control for the possible influence of third variables.



Any event, situation, behaviour, or individual characteristic that varies--that is, has at least two values.