Research Methods

Identifying Independent and Dependent Variables

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For the following research projects, (a) identify the independent and dependent variables. For designs that do not have true IVs, (b) identify the variables and tell why they are not manipulated vriables but are, instead, measured variables. In order to get maximum credit, you need to describe how each variable is measured. (Maximum = 12 pts)

1. (4 pts) Twenty-nine female and 30 males students listed to listened either to a song with violent lyrics or to a song without violent content. The participants then completed the State Hostility Scale (SHS), which indicates the degree of hostility of a person. Higher scores on the scale reflect higher levels of hostility. The researchers discovered that participants who listened to violent lyrics showed a higher level of hostility than participants who listened to nonviolent lyrics.

Anderson, C. A., Carnage, N. L., & Eubanks, J. (2003). Exposure to violent media: The effects of songs with violent lyrics on aggressive thoughts and feelings. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 84, 960-971.


2. (4 pts) Researchers presented gender-stereotypic television or non-gender-stereotypic commercials to elicit the female stereotype among both men and women. In everyday life, gender-stereotypic activities include cooking for women and working on automobiles for men. Women who viewed the stereotypic commercials gave ratings indicating less interest in educational vocational options in which they were susceptible to stereotype threat (i.e., quantitative domains) and more interest in fields in which they were immune to stereotype threat (i.e., verbal domains).


Davies, P. G., Spencer, S. J., Quinn, D. M., & Gerhardstein, R. (2002). Consuming images: How television commercials that elicit stereotype threat can restrain women academically and professionally. Personality & Social Psychology Bulletin, 28, 1615-1628.


3. (4 pts) A psychologist wondered how people would respond to people with tattoos, so he studied how long people helped a tattooed stranger who was dressed in jeans and a sweatshirt or in a shirt, tie, and dress slacks. In each dress condition, half of the time the tattoo was not visible, and half of the time the tattoo was visible. The confederate asked for help in reading a map, claiming that he had forgotten his glasses. The results showed that people spent the same amount of time with the person when the tattoo was not visible, regardless of attire. When the tattoo was visible, however, people spent more time with the person in sweatshirt and jeans than with the person with shirt, tie, and dress slacks.

Strohmetz, D. B., & Moore, M. P. (2003, March). Impact of a tattoo on a helping request. Poster presented at the annual convention of the Eastern Psychological Association, Baltimore, MD.

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Last modified October 17, 2005