Douglas F. Levinson, M.D.

Publication Details

  • Significance levels for studies with correlated test statistics BIOSTATISTICS Shi, J., Levinson, D. F., Whittemore, A. S. 2008; 9 (3): 458-466


    When testing large numbers of null hypotheses, one needs to assess the evidence against the global null hypothesis that none of the hypotheses is false. Such evidence typically is based on the test statistic of the largest magnitude, whose statistical significance is evaluated by permuting the sample units to simulate its null distribution. Efron (2007) has noted that correlation among the test statistics can induce substantial interstudy variation in the shapes of their histograms, which may cause misleading tail counts. Here, we show that permutation-based estimates of the overall significance level also can be misleading when the test statistics are correlated. We propose that such estimates be conditioned on a simple measure of the spread of the observed histogram, and we provide a method for obtaining conditional significance levels. We justify this conditioning using the conditionality principle described by Cox and Hinkley (1974). Application of the method to gene expression data illustrates the circumstances when conditional significance levels are needed.

    View details for DOI 10.1093/biostatistics/kxm047

    View details for Web of Science ID 000256977000007

    View details for PubMedID 18089626

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