Contrast Analysis for Within Subjects Designs with R: a Tutorial.

In this post, I illustrate how to do contrast analysis for within subjects designs with  R.  A within subjects design is also called a repeated measures design.  I will illustrate two approaches. The first is to simply use the one-sample t-test on the transformed scores. This will replicate a contrast analysis done with SPSS GLM Repeated Measures. The second is to make use of mixed linear effects modeling with the lmer-function from the lme4 library.

Conceptually, the major difference between the two approaches is that in the latter approach we make use of a single shared error variance and covariance across conditions (we assume compound symmetry), whereas in the former each contrast has a separate error variance, depending on the specific conditions involved in the contrast (these conditions may have unequal variances and covariances).

As in the previous post (, we will focus our attention on obtaining an interaction contrast estimate.

Again, our example is taken from Haans (2018; see also this post). It considers the effect of students’ seating distance from the teacher and the educational performance of the students: the closer to the teacher the student is seated, the higher the performance. A “theory “explaining the effect is that the effect is mainly caused by the teacher having decreased levels of eye contact with the students sitting farther to the back in the lecture hall.

To test that theory, a experiment was conducted with N = 9 participants in a completely within-subjects-design (also called a fully-crossed design), with two fixed factors: sunglasses (with or without) and location (row 1 through row 4). The dependent variable was the score on a 10-item questionnaire about the contents of the lecture. So, we have a 2 by 4 within-subjects-design, with n = 9 participants in each combination of the factor levels.

We will again focus on obtaining an interaction contrast: we will estimate the extent to which the difference between the mean retention score on the first row and those on the other rows differs between the conditions with and without sunglasses.

Contrast Analysis with SPSS Repeated Measures

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