01.06.2021 Neuer Preprint: Bayesian Model Selection

Benefits of Bayesian Model Selection and Averaging for Mixed-Effects Modeling

Autoren: Daniel W. Heck, Florence Bockting


Bayes factors allow researchers to test the effects of experimental manipulations in within-subjects designs using mixed-effects models. van Doorn et al. (2021) showed that such hypothesis tests can be performed by comparing different pairs of models which vary in the specification of the fixed- and random-effect structure for the within-subjects factor. To discuss the question of which of these model comparisons is most appropriate, van Doorn et al. used a case study to compare the corresponding Bayes factors. We argue that researchers should not only focus on pairwise comparisons of two nested models but rather use the Bayes factor for performing model selection among a larger set of mixed models that represent different auxiliary assumptions. In a standard one-factorial, repeated-measures design, the comparison should include four mixed-effects models: fixed-effects H0, fixed-effects H1, random-effects H0, and random-effects H1. Thereby, the Bayes factor enables testing both the average effect of condition and the heterogeneity of effect sizes across individuals. Bayesian model averaging provides an inclusion Bayes factor which quantifies the evidence for or against the presence of an effect of condition while taking model-selection uncertainty about the heterogeneity of individual effects into account. We present a simulation study showing that model selection among a larger set of mixed models performs well in recovering the true, data-generating model.

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