I am planning the following memory experiment:
Participants study a list of words, a random half of which are followed by an instruction to remember and the other half by an instruction to forget. Afterwards, they are given a recognition memory test which includes words that they have previously studied, unstudied words that sound similar to studied words they had been instructed to remember, unstudied words that sound similar to studied words they had been instructed to forget, and unstudied words that are unrelated to studied words. Participants have to respond "yes" to words they recognize as having studied regardless of the associated memory instruction (remember or forget) and "no" to the words they don't.
If participants falsely recognize (respond "yes") to more similar sounding unstudied words than unrelated unstudied words it is taken as evidence that they encoded the sound of the words they studied. Comparing "yes" responses between unstudied words that sound similar to remember instructed study words and those that sound similar to forget instructed study words can reveal whether the process of remembering or forgetting is more likely to lead to the encoding of sound.
With the above analyses in mind it would make sense that the dependent variable is the "yes" response. But is the independent variable the memory instruction? the type of unstudied word on the recognition test? or something else?