5. Researchers conducted an experiment to test social loafing. They asked participants to prepare an annual report or a tax return. Some participants performed the task individually and others performed it as a group. What are the independent and dependent variables? 

A) The independent variable is the overall productivity of the group, and the dependent variable is each participant’s contribution to the task.

B) The independent variable is the type of task, and the dependent variable is whether the participants worked alone or in a group.

C) The independent variable is whether the participant worked alone or in a group, and the dependent variable is each participant’s contribution to the task.

D) The independent variable is whether the participant worked alone or in a group, and the dependent variable is the type of the task.

The correct answer is C.

Rationale: This question assesses your knowledge of the social processes that influence human behavior. It requires you to reason about research design while understanding social loafing. Social loafing refers to the idea that people tend to exert less effort on a task when working in a group compared to the effort put forth when working alone. You are asked to draw inferences about the dependent and independent variables based on this social psychology concept and the description of the experimental design. The independent variable is changed in an experiment to test the effects on the dependent variable, which is measured throughout the experiment. The correct answer, option C, is the only option that correctly identifies each type of variable. Whether the participant worked alone or in a group is the independent variable that was altered for this experiment (to test the effect of social loafing) and the participant’s contribution to the annual tax return was then measured as the dependent variable.

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