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independent variable

Any variable that is different from the dependent variable in that it can change independently of it.  It is something that can change when the dependent variable does not, or can remain the same when the dependent variable changes.  Simply put, the independent variable is your intervention/treatment.  If you are trying to lose weight, your independent variable might be:
  1. reading nutrition labels 
  2. decreasing caloric intake  
  3. increasing number of fruits/vegetables.  
If you are trying to increase a person's vocabulary, the independent variable might be: 
  1. site word programs  
  2. sounding letters out 
  3. observing others perform the skill and repeating (such as the case with video modeling and echoic operants).

Definition reproduced by permission from Amanda N. Kelly at Behaviorbabe.

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