# Eli5 is the independent variable independent because it cannot change?

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Eli5 is the independent variable independent because it cannot change?

In: Biology So let me get this straight…
The dependent variable is the reaction to an independent variable. Independent variable is by itself and is use to help the dependent variable…?

So for example.

The time span of the human population
Independent variable is the time period.
The human population is the dependent variable.

I can’t change the year but the human population is dependent on the year to change???? Does that even make sense Your example in the comments is a weird choice. The independent variable is what you manipulate in an experiment. The dependant variable should be altered by those manipulations to the independent variable. Let’s say your experiment was adding gas to a fire to observe flame. The amount of gas added is the independent variable. The height of the flames would be the dependant variable. Can you elaborate on context? Is this in scientific experiments? Probability and statistics? I understand you question, I also had trouble with that terminology. It turns out it’s actually quite simple:

The dependent variable (y) is the value that “depends”, meaning it’s the value you can only obtain once you know the value on which it depends (x). We know that’s not entirely true, because on academic exercises your are asked to find either value knowing the other, and some “hipothetic” scenarios.

But, predictions aside, independent variable (x) is the value you put in “the machine” (you could “pick a number” freely) and the dependent variable (y) is the value that “the machine” gives your in return (a non negotiable number, or set of numbers, you can’t choose)

Of course, in a lot of cases this depends on how you phrased the question your function/graph is describing, it’s not set in stone.

I could give you gladly some examples if you want (just trying to keep this reply short)

Edit: answering your question (sorry for the ramp), independent variable is, actually, the opposite. Is the value you can choose freely. Dependent variable is the value you can’t change once you have set the independent value. Independence and dependence is a construct that exists only in relation to two or more things.

Johnny only has an apple when he’s holding the Apple. The Apple is the independent in this relationship because it’s an Apple irregardless of Johnny obtaining it.

The Apple rots dependant on time, because the Apple only rots in relation to the passage of time.

There’s lots of dependents that become independents when you change the relationship you’re examining.