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SS stands for sum of squares, and is the shorthand for a variance measure. Variance is measured by subtracting the mean from each score in a distribution of scores, squaring this difference, then adding all of the differences to produce a total, or sum of the squared deviations from the mean (SS). Were we to take the average of these deviations we would obtain the mean sum of the squared deviations, or mean squares, or MS. Both these abbreviations can be found in the output from an analysis of variance.