A model-based test for treatment effects with probabilistic classifications.

Within modern psychology, computational and statistical models play an important role in describing a wide variety of human behavior. Model selection analyses are typically used to classify individuals according to the model(s) that best describe their behavior. These classifications are inherently probabilistic, which presents challenges for performing group-level analyses, such as quantifying the effect of an experimental manipulation. We answer this challenge by presenting a method for quantifying treatment effects in terms of distributional changes in model-based (i.e., probabilistic) classifications across treatment conditions. The method uses hierarchical Bayesian mixture modeling to incorporate classification uncertainty at the individual level into the test for a treatment effect at the group level. We illustrate the method with several worked examples, including a reanalysis of the data from Kellen, Mata, and Davis-Stober (2017), and analyze its performance more generally through simulation studies. Our simulations show that the method is both more powerful and less prone to type-1 errors than Fisher’s exact test when classifications are uncertain. In the special case where classifications are deterministic, we find a near-perfect power-law relationship between the Bayes factor, derived from our method, and the p value obtained from Fisher’s exact test. We provide code in an online supplement that allows researchers to apply the method to their own data. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2018 APA, all rights reserved)