P.Mean: What is an intervening variable (created 2008-10-20).

I'm familiar with dependent and independent variables but I just heard about intervening variables. Please tell me what are they, and how they deal with the other variables.

I did not know this term either, but there is a pretty good explanation on Wikipedia:

Further discussion is available at

An intervening variable is a variable, usually a conceptual variable rather than a variable that is directly measured, that exists between the dependent and independent variable and which explains the relationship between the two.

Since the intervening variable is usually conceptual, discussion of intervening variables is usually done from an abstract or theoretical perspective.

The Wikipedia article provides a good example of an intervening variable. In an experiment training rats to run through mazes, the independent variable is the number of times that the rat has previously run the maze and the dependent variable is the number of mistakes made. Clearly there is a negative relationship (practice makes perfect). The intervening variable is the learning that the rat undergoes as it repeats the maze

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