Measure of Central Tendency and Variation in Psychology

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Research psychologists are interested in getting knowledge in both humans and animals and therefore they do carry out their own research to prove or disapprove their theories. This is done by use of central measure of tendency and the most common measures of central tendencies are: mean mode and median.

Measure of central tendency and Variation in psychology

Mean is the average of the sum total items. According to Jex and Britt (2008) the measure of central tendency commonly used is the mean. Mode can be defined as the most common appearing value in a sample or population. In some cases a data set can have more than a single mode. Last but not least, Median is calculated by arranging the data set from the least to the highest value, then picking the score appearing at the 50th percentile.

A real world example is learning institutions use the mean to calculate mean scores of students. The tutors compile the scores of each student according to the subject and then make a total of the scores it is then that they divide the total marks by the number of students to get a mean score of each subject. The median on the other hand will give meaningless information since the score at the 50th percentile will add no value to interpretation of the scores.

Mean is the measure of central tendency in psychology which is most appropriate since researchers often report the mean for example of participants’ age or mean score in a test and it is also very realistic since it can be calculated and achieved. On the contrary, the medium given an example of scores where most scores are bunched together and one of the scores is very far away from it can give a deceiving score. The data set in scores differs and to get a refined score, standard deviation is used since it uses the raw scores. This would assist in determining how representative a particular score is of the data set as a whole. The range on the other hand provides only limited amount of information  bearing in mind a data set skewed to the low score can have the same range as dataset which are skewed towards the higher score.

No knowledge is full proof or completely certain. (Jemison, 2006) My opinion towards variations and central measure of tendency is similar to the research carried out by Jemison (2006) that errors cannot be avoided in any work and that is why certainty about any piece of knowledge is relative.





Jamison, J. (2006) Research Methods in Psychology for High School Students:  USA, iuniverse.

Jex, S.M & Britt T. (2008) Organizational Psychology -a scientific practitioner approach:  Canada, John Willey and Sons.


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