Deutsch: Varianz / Español: Varianza / Português: Variância / Français: Variance / Italiano: Varianza

The variance is the average squared deviation around the mean; the standard deviation squared.

A measure of the dispersion of a frequency distribution in which each score is subtracted from the mean, squared, and summed. The sum is then divided by the number of scores.

In psychology, variance refers to the measure of the spread between numbers in a data set, indicating how much the numbers differ from each other and from the mean. It is a statistical concept used to describe the degree of diversity or variability in variables, such as scores, traits, or behaviors within a group of people.


Variance is calculated by taking the average of the squared differences from the mean. In a psychological context, this measure helps researchers and clinicians understand the diversity in behavioral and psychological responses among individuals or groups. High variance indicates a wide spread of data, meaning there is considerable diversity in the responses or behaviors studied. Conversely, low variance suggests that the data points are clustered closely around the mean, indicating more uniformity.

Understanding variance is crucial in psychological research and testing because it helps in assessing the reliability and validity of psychological tests, determining the effects of interventions, and studying personality, intelligence, and other psychological constructs.

Application Areas

Variance is used in various psychological research and application areas, including:

  • Experimental psychology: To analyze the effects of experimental manipulations on behavioral outcomes.
  • Clinical psychology: In assessing the effectiveness of different treatment approaches by examining the variance in treatment outcomes.
  • Developmental psychology: To study variations in developmental milestones and individual differences in growth patterns.

Well-Known Examples

Examples where variance plays a crucial role include:

  • Psychometric testing: Variance in test scores can help in evaluating test reliability (consistency of results across time and different conditions) and validity (accuracy in measuring what it is supposed to measure).
  • Analysis of Variance (ANOVA): A statistical method used to determine if there are any statistically significant differences between the means of three or more independent groups.

Treatment and Risks

In psychological research and practice, understanding variance is key to making informed decisions about treatment and intervention strategies. High variance in treatment outcomes, for example, might suggest the need for tailored treatments rather than a one-size-fits-all approach.

However, misinterpreting variance, such as overlooking significant variance within subgroups, can lead to incorrect conclusions about the generalizability of findings. This can result in ineffective or inappropriate recommendations for interventions.

Similar Terms

Related statistical terms include:

  • Standard deviation: The square root of the variance, providing a measure of variability that is in the same units as the original data.
  • Covariance: A measure of the degree to which two variables change together, indicating the direction of the relationship.

Articles with 'Variance' in the title

  • Single-factor analysis of variance: The Single-factor analysis of variance is a hypothesis test that evaluates the statistical significance of the mean differences among two or more sets of scores obtained from a single-factor multiple group design
  • Developmental invariance: Developmental invariance refers to developmental pattern such that a cognitive skill does not improve steadily over childhood but reaches adult Competence early in life and remains stable th ereafter


In psychology, variance is a fundamental statistical concept that quantifies the variability within a dataset. It is essential for analyzing the diversity of psychological phenomena, assessing the impact of interventions, and enhancing the accuracy and effectiveness of psychological research and practice.


Related Articles

Single-factor analysis of variance at■■■■■■■■■■
The Single-factor analysis of variance is a hypothesis test that evaluates the statistical significance . . . Read More
Statistic at■■■■■■■■
In the context of psychology, a statistic refers to a numerical value that describes or summarizes data . . . Read More
Mode at■■■■■■■■
Mode is defined as the measure of central tendency that identifies the most frequently occurring score . . . Read More
Test at■■■■■■■■
Test refers to a task or set of tasks given under standard conditions with the purpose of assessing some . . . Read More
Normal distribution at■■■■■■■
Normal distribution refers to a frequency distribution, defined by a particular mathematical function . . . Read More
Xtent at■■■■■■■
Xtent is a term used in the psychology context to describe the extent or degree of a particular psychological . . . Read More
Agreeableness at■■■■■■■
In the context of psychology, agreeableness is one of the five major dimensions of personality in the . . . Read More
Relevance at■■■■■■■
In the context of psychology, relevance refers to the degree to which something is related or useful . . . Read More
Complexity of information at■■■■■■■
Complexity of information: Complexity of Information in the psychology context refers to the degree of . . . Read More
Standard at■■■■■■■
Standard is a level or grade of excellence regarded as a goal or measure of adequacy. Standard in the . . . Read More