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Confidence intervals in within-subject designs: A simpler solution to Loftus and Masson's method

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Doi: 10.20982/tqmp.01.1.p042

Cousineau, Denis
Keywords: Error bars , Repeated measure designs , Statistics
Tools: SPSS
(data file)   (Appendix)

There has been a reply by Morey in 4(2)
There has been an erratum in volume 8(3)

Within-subject ANOVAs are a powerful tool to analyze data because the variance associated to differences between the participants is removed from the analysis. Hence, small differences, when present for most of the participants, can be significant even when the participants are very different from one another. Yet, graphs showing standard error or confidence interval bars are misleading since these bars include the between-subject variability. Loftus and Masson (1994) noticed this fact and proposed an alternate method to compute the error bars. However, i) their approach requires that the ANOVA be performed first, which is paradoxical since a graph is an aid to decide whether to perform analyses or not; ii) their method provides a single error bar for all the conditions, masking information such as the heterogeneity of variances across conditions; iii) the method proposed is difficult to implement in commonly-used graphing software. Here we propose a simpler alternative and show how it can be implemented in SPSS.

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