Continuous variables in behavioral research


Continuous variable. A variable having a wide range of numerical values, such as intelligence, achievement, and personality variables.

Example: Scores on a Big Five test of personality are often reported as T-Scores for each of the five scales. Most people obtain scores in the range of 40 to 60 but it is possible to obtain lower and higher scores. The point of the example is that the scores are continuous and cover a wide range. 

Researchers can group people based on their scores using groups labels like "high" and "low" perhaps by deciding that the median would be the score to separate high and low scores. Changing the continuous variable results in the formation of a grouping variable or categorical variable.

Example 2: Age is a continuous variable beginning at birth and continuing to death. Researchers can group people by age and create a grouping or categorical value.

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