Human Sexuality Chapter 2 Key Terms


Derived from or based on observation and experimentation.


A precise prediction about behavior that is often derived from theory and is tested through research.


Quantities or qualities that vary or may vary.


Concerning the vital statistics (density, race, age, etc.) of human populations.


A complete group of organisms or events.


Part of a population.


To go from the particular to the general.

Random sample

A sample in which every member of a population has an equal chance of participating.

Stratified random sample

A random sample in which known subgroups in a population are represented in proportion to their numbers in the population.

Volunteer bias

A slanting of research data that is caused by the characteristics of individuals who volunteer to participate, such as willingness to discuss intimate behavior.

Case study

A carefully drawn, in-depth biography of an individual or a small group of individuals that may be obtained through interviews, questionnaires, and historical records.


A detailed study of a sample obtained by means such as interviews and questionnaires.


The consistency or accuracy of a measure.


A measure of the occurrence or the degree of occurrence of an event.


With respect to tests, the degree to which a particular test measures the constructs or traits that it purports to measure.

Social Desirability

A response bias to a questionnaire or interview in which the person provides a socially acceptable response.

Naturalistic Observation

A method in which organisms are observed in their natural environments.

Ethnographic Observation

Data concerning sexual behaviors and customs that occur among various ethnic groups.

Participant Observation

A method in which observers interact with the people they study as they collect data.


A statistical measure of the relationship between two variables.


Congestion resulting from the flow of blood.

Penile strain gauge

A device for measuring sexual arousal in men in terms of changes in the circumference of the penis.

Vaginal photoplethysmograph

A tampon-shaped probe that is inserted in the vagina and suggests the level of vasocongestion by measuring the light reflected from the vaginal walls.

Correlation Coefficient

A statistic that expresses the strength and direction (positive or negative) of the relationship between two variables.


A scientific method that seeks to confirm cause-and-effect relationships by manipulating independent variables and observing their effects on dependent variables.


In experiments, an intervention that is administered to participants (such as a test, a drug, or a sex education program) so that its effects can be observed.

Independent Variable

A condition in a scientific study that is manipulated so that its effects can be observed.

Dependent Variables

The measured results of an experiment, which are believed to be a function of the independent variables.

Experimental Group

A group of study participants who receive a treatment.

Control Group

A group of study participants who do not receive the experimental treatment. However, other conditions are held comparable to those of individuals in the experimental group.

Selection factor

A bias that may operate in research when people are allowed to determine whether they will receive a treatment.

Informed Consent

Agreement to participate in research after receiving adequate information about the purposes and nature of the study and about its potential risks and benefits.