Linear Trend Analysis with R and SPSS

This is an introduction to contrast analysis for estimating the  linear trend among condition means with R and SPSS . The tutorial focuses on obtaining point and confidence intervals.  The contents of this introduction is based on Maxwell, Delaney, and Kelley (2017) and Rosenthal, Rosnow, and Rubin (2000). I have taken the (invented) data from Haans (2018). The estimation perspective to statistical analysis is aimed at obtaining point and interval estimates of effect sizes. Here, I will use the frequentist perspective of obtaining a point estimate and a 95% Confidence Interval of the relevant effect size. For linear trend analysis, the relevant effect size is the slope coefficient of the linear trend, so, the purpose of the analysis is to estimate the value of the slope and the 95% confidence interval of the estimate. We will use contrast analysis to obtain the relevant data.

[Note: A pdf-file that differs only slightly from this blogpost can be found on my Researchgate page: here; I suggest Haans (2018) for an easy to follow introduction to contrast analysis, which should really help understanding what is being said below].

The references cited above are clear about how to construct contrast coefficients (lambda coefficients) for linear trends (and non-linear trends for that matter) that can be used to perform a significance test for the null-hypothesis that the slope equals zero. Maxwell, Delaney, and Kelley (2017) describe how to obtain a confidence interval for the slope and make clear that to obtain interpretable results from the software we use, we should consider how the linear trend contrast values are scaled. That is, standard software (like SPSS) gives us a point estimate and a confidence interval for the contrast estimate, but depending on how the coefficients are scaled, these estimates are not necessarily interpretable in terms of the slope of the linear trend, as I will make clear

So our goal of the data-analysis is to obtain a point and interval estimate of the slope of the linear trend and the purpose of this contribution is to show how to obtain output that is interpretable as such.

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Contrast analysis with R: Tutorial for factorial mixed designs

In this tutorial I will show how contrast estimates can be obtained with R. Previous posts focused on the analyses in factorial between and within designs, now I will focus on a mixed design with one between participants factor and one within participants factor. I will discuss how to obtain an estimate of an interaction contrast using a dataset provided by Haans (2018).

I will illustrate two approaches, the first approach is to use transformed scores in combination with one-sample t-tests, and the other approach uses the univariate mixed model approach. As was explained in the previous tutorial, the first approach tests each contrast against it’s own error variance, whereas in the mixed model approach a common error variance is used (which requires statistical assumptions that will probably not apply in practice; the advantage of the mixed model approach, if its assumptions apply,  is that the Margin of Error of the contrast estimate is somewhat smaller).

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 factorial mixed design (also called a split-plot design), with two fixed factors: the between participants Sunglasses (with or without), and the within participants factor 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  mixed factorial 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.

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