Comparison of permutation methods for the partial correlation and partial Mantel tests

  • Legendre P
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Abstract

This study compares empirical type I error and power of different permutation tech- niques that can be used for partial correlation analysis involving three data vectors and for partial Mantel tests. The partial Mantel test is a form of first-order partial correla- tion analysis involving three distance matrices which is widely used in such fields as population genetics, ecology, anthropology, psychometry and sociology. The methods compared are the following: (1) permute the objects in one of the vectors (or matrices); (2) permute the residuals of a null model; (3) correlate residualized vector 1 (or matrix A) to residualized vector 2 (or matrix B); permute one of the residualized vectors (or matrices); (4) permute the residuals of a full model. In the partial correlation study, the results were compared to those of the parametric t-test which provides a reference un- der normality. Simulations were carried out to measure the type I error and power of these permutation methods, using normal and non-normal data, without and with an outlier. There were 10000 simulations for each situation (100000 when n = 5); 999 permutations were produced per test where permutations were used. The recommend- ed testing procedures are the following: (a) In partial correlation analysis, most meth- ods can be used most of the time. The parametric t-test should not be used with highly skewed data. Permutation of the raw data should be avoided only when highly skewed data are combined with outliers in the covariable. Methods implying permutation of residuals, which are known to only have asymptotically exact significance levels, should not be used when highly skewed data are combined with small sample size. (b) In partial Mantel tests, method 2 can always be used, except when highly skewed data are combined with small sample size. (c) With small sample sizes, one should carefully examine the data before partial correlation or partial Mantel analysis. For highly skewed data, permutation of the raw data has correct type I error in the absence of outliers. When highly skewed data are combined with outliers in the covariable vec- tor or matrix, it is still

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Authors

  • Pierre Legendre

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