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Bayesian and frequentist analysis of True and Error models

Michael H. Birnbaum

Judgment and Decision Making, 2019, vol. 14, issue 5, 608-616

Abstract: Birnbaum and Quispe-Torreblanca (2018) presented a frequentist analysis of a family of six True and Error (TE) models for the analysis of two choice problems presented twice to each participant. Lee (2018) performed a Bayesian analysis of the same models, and found very similar parameter estimates and conclusions for the same data. He also discussed some potential differences between Bayesian and frequentist analyses and interpretations for model comparisons. This paper responds to certain points of possible controversy regarding model selection that attempt to take into account the concept of flexibility or complexity of a model. Reasons to question the use of Bayes factors to decide among models differing in fit and complexity are presented. The partially nested inter-relations among the six TE models are represented in a Venn diagram. Another view of model complexity is presented in terms of possible sets of data that could fit a model rather than in terms of possible sets of parameters that do or do not fit a given set of data. It is argued that less complex theories are not necessarily more likely to be true, and when the space of all possible theories is not well-defined, one should be cautious in interpreting calculated posterior probabilities that appear to prove a theory to be true.

Keywords: Error Theory; Hypothesis Testing; Statistics; Bayesian analysis (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2019
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