Written by Pam MS, NCSP | Fact checked by Psychology Dictionary staff 

is a variable which inadvertantly effects the course of an experiment, specifically the dependent variable, normally without the knowledge of the researchers, but nonetheless potentially affecting the results. Experiments are designed to reduce the effect on extraneous variables.

EXTRANEOUS VARIABLE: "Researchers when planning a new experiment will need to take into account the effect of extraneous variables on any results. "

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