Variability refers to the degree of change in a phenomenon over time.
In psychology, variability refers to the extent to which a particular trait or behavior varies within a group or population. It is a measure of the dispersion or spread of scores within a sample or distribution. For example, if a group of people is given a test of cognitive ability, the scores might range from very low to very high, with some people scoring much higher or lower than others. This would indicate a high degree of variability in cognitive ability within the group.
Variability can be calculated using statistical measures such as the standard deviation or variance, which give an indication of how much the scores in a sample differ from the mean or average score. A high standard deviation or variance indicates a large degree of variability, while a low standard deviation or variance indicates a small degree of variability.
Examples of psychological variables that might show high or low variability include intelligence, personality traits, and behavioral tendencies. Factors that might contribute to variability in these variables include genetics, environmental influences, and individual differences.