# 15 Hypothesis Examples

A hypothesis is defined as a testable prediction, and is used primarily in scientific experiments as a potential or predicted outcome that scientists attempt to prove or disprove (Atkinson et al., 2021; Tan, 2022).

In my types of hypothesis article, I outlined 13 different hypotheses, including the directional hypothesis (which makes a prediction about an effect of a treatment will be positive or negative) and the associative hypothesis (which makes a prediction about the association between two variables).

This article will dive into some interesting examples of hypotheses and examine potential ways you might test each one.

Contents

## Hypothesis Examples

### 1. “Inadequate Sleep Decreases Memory Retention”

Field: Psychology

Type: Causal Hypothesis
A causal hypothesis explores the effect of one variable on another. This example posits that a lack of adequate sleep causes decreased memory retention. In other words, if you are not getting enough sleep, your ability to remember and recall information may suffer.

How to Test:

To test this hypothesis, you might devise an experiment whereby your participants are divided into two groups: one receives an average of 8 hours of sleep per night for a week, while the other gets less than the recommended sleep amount.

During this time, all participants would daily study and recall new, specific information. You’d then measure memory retention of this information for both groups using standard memory tests and compare the results.

Should the group with less sleep have statistically significant poorer memory scores, the hypothesis would be supported.

Ensuring the integrity of the experiment requires taking into account factors such as individual health differences, stress levels, and daily nutrition.

### 2. “Increase in Temperature Leads to Increase in Kinetic Energy”

Field: Physics

Type: Deductive Hypothesis
The deductive hypothesis applies the logic of deductive reasoning – it moves from a general premise to a more specific conclusion. This specific hypothesis assumes that as temperature increases, the kinetic energy of particles also increases – that is, when you heat something up, its particles move around more rapidly.

How to Test:

This hypothesis could be examined by heating a gas in a controlled environment and capturing the movement of its particles as a function of temperature.

You’d gradually increase the temperature and measure the kinetic energy of the gas particles with each increment. If the kinetic energy consistently rises with the temperature, your hypothesis gets supporting evidence.

Variables such as pressure and volume of the gas would need to be held constant to ensure validity of results.

### 3. “Children Raised in Bilingual Homes Develop Better Cognitive Skills”

Field: Psychology/Linguistics

Type: Comparative Hypothesis
The comparative hypothesis posits a difference between two or more groups based on certain variables. In this context, you might propose that children raised in bilingual homes have superior cognitive skills compared to those raised in monolingual homes.

How to Test:

Testing this hypothesis could involve identifying two groups of children: those raised in bilingual homes, and those raised in monolingual homes.

Cognitive skills in both groups would be evaluated using a standard cognitive ability test at different stages of development. The examination would be repeated over a significant time period for consistency.

If the group raised in bilingual homes persistently scores higher than the other, the hypothesis would thereby be supported.

The challenge for the researcher would be controlling for other variables that could impact cognitive development, such as socio-economic status, education level of parents, and parenting styles.

### 4. “High-Fiber Diet Leads to Lower Incidences of Cardiovascular Diseases”

Field: Medicine/Nutrition

Type: Alternative Hypothesis
The alternative hypothesis suggests an alternative to a null hypothesis. In this context, the implied null hypothesis could be that diet has no effect on cardiovascular health, which the alternative hypothesis contradicts by suggesting that a high-fiber diet leads to fewer instances of cardiovascular diseases.

How to Test:

To test this hypothesis, a longitudinal study could be conducted on two groups of participants; one adheres to a high-fiber diet, while the other follows a diet low in fiber.

After a fixed period, the cardiovascular health of participants in both groups could be analyzed and compared. If the group following a high-fiber diet has a lower number of recorded cases of cardiovascular diseases, it would provide evidence supporting the hypothesis.

Control measures should be implemented to exclude the influence of other lifestyle and genetic factors that contribute to cardiovascular health.

### 5. “Gravity Influences the Directional Growth of Plants”

Field: Agronomy / Botany

Type: Explanatory Hypothesis
An explanatory hypothesis attempts to explain a phenomenon. In this case, the hypothesis proposes that gravity affects how plants direct their growth – both above-ground (toward sunlight) and below-ground (towards water and other resources).

How to Test:

The testing could be conducted by growing plants in a rotating cylinder to create artificial gravity.

Observations on the direction of growth, over a specified period, can provide insights into the influencing factors. If plants consistently direct their growth in a manner that indicates the influence of gravitational pull, the hypothesis is substantiated.

It is crucial to ensure that other growth-influencing factors, such as light and water, are uniformly distributed so that only gravity influences the directional growth.

### 6. “The Implementation of Gamified Learning Improves Students’ Motivation”

Field: Education

Type: Relational Hypothesis
The relational hypothesis describes the relation between two variables. Here, the hypothesis is that the implementation of gamified learning has a positive effect on the motivation of students.

How to Test:

To validate this proposition, two sets of classes could be compared: one that implements a learning approach with game-based elements, and another that follows a traditional learning approach.

The students’ motivation levels could be gauged by monitoring their engagement, performance, and feedback over a considerable timeframe.

If the students engaged in the gamified learning context present higher levels of motivation and achievement, the hypothesis would be supported.

Control measures ought to be put into place to account for individual differences, including prior knowledge and attitudes towards learning.

### 7. “Mathematics Anxiety Negatively Affects Performance”

Field: Educational Psychology

Type: Research Hypothesis
The research hypothesis involves making a prediction that will be tested. In this case, the hypothesis proposes that a student’s anxiety about math can negatively influence their performance in math-related tasks.

How to Test:

To assess this hypothesis, researchers must first measure the mathematics anxiety levels of a sample of students using a validated instrument, such as the Mathematics Anxiety Rating Scale.

Then, the students’ performance in mathematics would be evaluated through standard testing. If there’s a negative correlation between the levels of math anxiety and math performance (meaning as anxiety increases, performance decreases), the hypothesis would be supported.

It would be crucial to control for relevant factors such as overall academic performance and previous mathematical achievement.

### 8. “Disruption of Natural Sleep Cycle Impairs Worker Productivity”

Field: Organizational Psychology

Type: Operational Hypothesis
The operational hypothesis involves defining the variables in measurable terms. In this example, the hypothesis posits that disrupting the natural sleep cycle, for instance through shift work or irregular working hours, can lessen productivity among workers.

How to Test:

To test this hypothesis, you could collect data from workers who maintain regular working hours and those with irregular schedules.

Measuring productivity could involve examining the worker’s ability to complete tasks, the quality of their work, and their efficiency.

If workers with interrupted sleep cycles demonstrate lower productivity compared to those with regular sleep patterns, it would lend support to the hypothesis.

Consideration should be given to potential confounding variables such as job type, worker age, and overall health.

### 9. “Regular Physical Activity Reduces the Risk of Depression”

Field: Health Psychology

Type: Predictive Hypothesis
A predictive hypothesis involves making a prediction about the outcome of a study based on the observed relationship between variables. In this case, it is hypothesized that individuals who engage in regular physical activity are less likely to suffer from depression.

How to Test:

Longitudinal studies would suit to test this hypothesis, tracking participants’ levels of physical activity and their mental health status over time.

The level of physical activity could be self-reported or monitored, while mental health status could be assessed using standard diagnostic tools or surveys.

If data analysis shows that participants maintaining regular physical activity have a lower incidence of depression, this would endorse the hypothesis.

However, care should be taken to control other lifestyle and behavioral factors that could intervene with the results.

### 10. “Regular Meditation Enhances Emotional Stability”

Field: Psychology

Type: Empirical Hypothesis
In the empirical hypothesis, predictions are based on amassed empirical evidence. This particular hypothesis theorizes that frequent meditation leads to improved emotional stability, resonating with numerous studies linking meditation to a variety of psychological benefits.

How to Test:

Earlier studies reported some correlations, but to test this hypothesis directly, you’d organize an experiment where one group meditates regularly over a set period while a control group doesn’t.

Both groups’ emotional stability levels would be measured at the start and end of the experiment using a validated emotional stability assessment.

If regular meditators display noticeable improvements in emotional stability compared to the control group, the hypothesis gains credit.

You’d have to ensure a similar emotional baseline for all participants at the start to avoid skewed results.

### 11. “Children Exposed to Reading at an Early Age Show Superior Academic Progress”

Field: Education

Type: Directional Hypothesis
The directional hypothesis predicts the direction of an expected relationship between variables. Here, the hypothesis anticipates that early exposure to reading positively affects a child’s academic advancement.

How to Test:

A longitudinal study tracking children’s reading habits from an early age and their consequent academic performance could validate this hypothesis.

Parents could report their children’s exposure to reading at home, while standardized school exam results would provide a measure of academic achievement.

If the children exposed to early reading consistently perform better acadically, it gives weight to the hypothesis.

However, it would be important to control for variables that might impact academic performance, such as socioeconomic background, parental education level, and school quality.

### 12. “Adopting Energy-efficient Technologies Reduces Carbon Footprint of Industries”

Field: Environmental Science

Type: Descriptive Hypothesis
A descriptive hypothesis predicts the existence of an association or pattern related to variables. In this scenario, the hypothesis suggests that industries adopting energy-efficient technologies will resultantly show a reduced carbon footprint.

How to Test:

Global industries making use of energy-efficient technologies could track their carbon emissions over time. At the same time, others not implementing such technologies continue their regular tracking.

After a defined time, the carbon emission data of both groups could be compared. If industries that adopted energy-efficient technologies demonstrate a notable reduction in their carbon footprints, the hypothesis would hold strong.

In the experiment, you would exclude variations brought by factors such as industry type, size, and location.

### 13. “Reduced Screen Time Improves Sleep Quality”

Field: Psychology

Type: Simple Hypothesis
The simple hypothesis is a prediction about the relationship between two variables, excluding any other variables from consideration. This example posits that by reducing time spent on devices like smartphones and computers, an individual should experience improved sleep quality.

How to Test:

A sample group would need to reduce their daily screen time for a pre-determined period. Sleep quality before and after the reduction could be measured using self-report sleep diaries and objective measures like actigraphy, monitoring movement and wakefulness during sleep.

If the data shows that sleep quality improved post the screen time reduction, the hypothesis would be validated.

Other aspects affecting sleep quality, like caffeine intake, should be controlled during the experiment.

### 14. Engaging in Brain-Training Games Improves Cognitive Functioning in Elderly

Field: Gerontology

Type: Inductive Hypothesis
Inductive hypotheses are based on observations leading to broader generalizations and theories. In this context, the hypothesis deduces from observed instances that engaging in brain-training games can help improve cognitive functioning in the elderly.

How to Test:

A longitudinal study could be conducted where an experimental group of elderly people partakes in regular brain-training games.

Their cognitive functioning could be assessed at the start of the study and at regular intervals using standard neuropsychological tests.

If the group engaging in brain-training games shows better cognitive functioning scores over time compared to a control group not playing these games, the hypothesis would be supported.

### 15. Farming Practices Influence Soil Erosion Rates

Field: Environmental Science

Type: Null Hypothesis
A null hypothesis is a negative statement assuming no relationship or difference between variables. The hypothesis in this context asserts there’s no effect of different farming practices on the rates of soil erosion.

How to Test:

Comparing soil erosion rates in areas with different farming practices over a considerable timeframe could help test this hypothesis.

If, statistically, the farming practices do not lead to differences in soil erosion rates, the null hypothesis is accepted.

However, if marked variation appears, the null hypothesis is rejected, meaning farming practices do influence soil erosion rates. It would be crucial to control for external factors like weather, soil type, and natural vegetation.

## Conclusion

The variety of hypotheses mentioned above underscores the diversity of research constructs inherent in different fields, each with its unique purpose and way of testing.

While researchers may develop hypotheses primarily as tools to define and narrow the focus of the study, these hypotheses also serve as valuable guiding forces for the data collection and analysis procedures, making the research process more efficient and direction-focused.

Hypotheses serve as a compass for any form of academic research. The diverse examples provided, from Psychology to Educational Studies, Environmental Science to Gerontology, clearly demonstrate how certain hypotheses suit specific fields more aptly than others.

It is important to underline that although these varied hypotheses differ in their structure and methods of testing, each endorses the fundamental value of empiricism in research. Evidence-based decision making remains at the heart of scholarly inquiry, regardless of the research field, thus aligning all hypotheses to the core purpose of scientific investigation.

Testing hypotheses is an essential part of the scientific method. By doing so, researchers can either confirm their predictions, giving further validity to an existing theory, or they might uncover new insights that could potentially shift the field’s understanding of a particular phenomenon. In either case, hypotheses serve as the stepping stones for scientific exploration and discovery.

## References

Atkinson, P., Delamont, S., Cernat, A., Sakshaug, J. W., & Williams, R. A. (2021). SAGE research methods foundations. SAGE Publications Ltd.

Curcio, G., Ferrara, M., & De Gennaro, L. (2006). Sleep loss, learning capacity and academic performance. Sleep medicine reviews10(5), 323-337.

Kim, J. H. (2022). Regular physical exercise and its association with depression: A population-based study short title: Exercise and depression. Psychiatry Research309, 114406.

King, D. E. (2005). Dietary fiber, inflammation, and cardiovascular disease. Molecular nutrition & food research49(6), 594-600.

Marian, V., & Shook, A. (2012, September). The cognitive benefits of being bilingual. In Cerebrum: the Dana forum on brain science (Vol. 2012). Dana Foundation.

Tan, W. C. K. (2022). Research Methods: A Practical Guide For Students And Researchers (Second Edition). World Scientific Publishing Company.

Waller, N. A., Zhang, N., Cocci, A. H., D’Agostino, C., Wesolek‐Greenson, S., Wheelock, K., … & Resnicow, K. (2021). Screen time use impacts low‐income preschool children’s sleep quality, tiredness, and ability to fall asleep. Child: care, health and development, 47(5), 618-626.

Dr. Chris Drew is the founder of the Helpful Professor. He holds a PhD in education and has published over 20 articles in scholarly journals. He is the former editor of the Journal of Learning Development in Higher Education. [Image Descriptor: Photo of Chris]