# Pearson's Correlation Tests

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1 Chapter 800 Pearson's Correlation Tests Introduction The correlation coefficient, ρ (rho), is a popular statistic for describing the strength of the relationship between two variables. The correlation coefficient is the slope of the regression line between two variables when both variables have been standardized by subtracting their means and dividing by their standard deviations. The correlation ranges between plus and minus one. When ρ is used as a descriptive statistic, no special distributional assumptions need to be made about the variables (Y and X) from which it is calculated. When hypothesis tests are made, you assume that the observations are independent and that the variables are distributed according to the bivariate-normal density function. However, as with the t-test, tests based on the correlation coefficient are robust to moderate departures from this normality assumption. The population correlation ρ is estimated by the sample correlation coefficient r. Note we use the symbol R on the screens and printouts to represent the population correlation. Difference between Linear Regression and Correlation The correlation coefficient is used when both X and Y are from the normal distribution (in fact, the assumption actually is that X and Y follow a bivariate normal distribution). The point is, X is assumed to be a random variable whose distribution is normal. In the linear regression context, no statement is made about the distribution of X. In fact, X is not even a random variable. Instead, it is a set of fixed values such as 10, 20, 30 or -1, 0, 1. Because of this difference in definition, we have included both Linear Regression and Correlation algorithms. This module deals with the Correlation (random X) case. Test Procedure The testing procedure is as follows. H 0 is the null hypothesis that the true correlation is a specific value, ρ 0 (usually, ρ 0 = 0 ). H A represents the alternative hypothesis that the actual correlation of the population is ρ 1, which is not equal to ρ 0. Choose a value R α, based on the distribution of the sample correlation coefficient, so that the probability of rejecting H 0 when H 0 is true is equal to a specified value, α. Select a sample of n items from the population and compute the sample correlation coefficient, r S. If rs > R α reject the null hypothesis that ρ = ρ 0 in favor of an alternative hypothesis that ρ = ρ 1, where ρ1 > ρ0. The power is the probability of rejecting H 0 when the true correlation is ρ 1. All calculations are based on the algorithm described by Guenther (1977) for calculating the cumulative correlation coefficient distribution

2 Calculating the Power Let R( r N,ρ ) represent the area under a correlation density curve to the left of r. N is the sample size and ρ is the population correlation. The power of the significance test of ρ > ρ is calculated as follows: Find r α such that R( r N ) α, ρ = α. 1 α 1 2. Compute the power = R( r N ρ ),. 1 0 Notice that the calculations follow the same pattern as for the t-test. First find the rejection region by finding the critical value ( r α ) under the null hypothesis. Next, calculate the probability that a sample of size N drawn from the population defined by setting the correlation to ρ 1 is in this rejection region. This is the power. Procedure Options This section describes the options that are specific to this procedure. These are located on the Design tab. For more information about the options of other tabs, go to the Procedure Window chapter. The Design tab contains most of the parameters and options that you will be concerned with. Solve For Solve For This option specifies the parameter to be calculated from the values of the other parameters. Under most conditions, you would either select Power or Sample Size. Select Sample Size when you want to determine the sample size needed to achieve a given power and alpha error level. Select Power when you want to calculate the power. Test Alternative Hypothesis This option specifies the alternative hypothesis. This implicitly specifies the direction of the hypothesis test. The null hypothesis is H : ρ = ρ Note that the alternative hypothesis enters into power calculations by specifying the rejection region of the hypothesis test. Its accuracy is critical. Possible selections are: Ha: ρ0 ρ1 This is the most common selection. It yields the two-tailed test. Use this option when you are testing whether the correlation values are different, but you do not want to specify beforehand which correlation is larger. Ha: ρ0 < ρ1 This option yields a one-tailed test

3 Ha: ρ0 > ρ1 This option also yields a one-tailed test. Power and Alpha Power This option specifies one or more values for power. Power is the probability of rejecting a false null hypothesis, and is equal to one minus Beta. Beta is the probability of a type-ii error, which occurs when a false null hypothesis is not rejected. In this procedure, a type-ii error occurs when you fail to reject the null hypothesis of equal correlations when in fact they are different. Values must be between zero and one. Historically, the value of 0.80 (Beta = 0.20) was used for power. Now, 0.90 (Beta = 0.10) is also commonly used. A single value may be entered here or a range of values such as 0.8 to 0.95 by 0.05 may be entered. Alpha This option specifies one or more values for the probability of a type-i error. A type-i error occurs when you reject the null hypothesis of equal correlations when in fact they are equal. Values of alpha must be between zero and one. Historically, the value of 0.05 has been used for alpha. This means that about one test in twenty will falsely reject the null hypothesis. You should pick a value for alpha that represents the risk of a type-i error you are willing to take in your experimental situation. You may enter a range of values such as or 0.01 to 0.10 by Sample Size N (Sample Size) The number of observations in the sample. Each observation is made up of two values: one for X and one for Y. Effect Size ρ0 (Baseline Correlation) Specify the value of ρ 0. Note that the range of the correlation is between plus and minus one. This value is usually set to zero. ρ1 (Alternative Correlation) Specify the value of ρ 1, the population correlation under the alternative hypothesis. Note that the range of the correlation is between plus and minus one. The difference between ρ 0 and ρ 1 is being tested by this significance test. You can enter a range of values separated by blanks or commas

4 Example 1 Finding the Power Suppose a study will be run to test whether the correlation between forced vital capacity (X) and forced expiratory value (Y) in a particular population is Find the power when alpha is 0.01, 0.05, and 0.10 and the N = 20, 60, 100. Setup This section presents the values of each of the parameters needed to run this example. First, from the PASS Home window, load the Pearson s Correlation Tests procedure window by expanding Correlation, then Correlation, then clicking on Test (Inequality), and then clicking on Pearson s Correlation Tests. You may then make the appropriate entries as listed below, or open Example 1 by going to the File menu and choosing Open Example Template. Option Value Solve For... Power Alternative Hypothesis... H1: ρ0 ρ1 Alpha N (Sample Size) ρ0 (Baseline Correlation) ρ1 (Alternative Correlation) Annotated Output Click the Calculate button to perform the calculations and generate the following output. Numeric Results Numeric Results for H1: ρ0 ρ1 Power N Alpha Beta ρ0 ρ Report Definitions Power is the probability of rejecting a false null hypothesis. It should be close to one. N is the size of the sample drawn from the population. To conserve resources, it should be small. Alpha is the probability of rejecting a true null hypothesis. It should be small. Beta is the probability of accepting a false null hypothesis. It should be small. ρ0 is the value of the population correlation under the null hypothesis. ρ1 is the value of the population correlation under the alternative hypothesis. Summary Statements A sample size of 20 achieves 9% power to detect a difference of between the null hypothesis correlation of and the alternative hypothesis correlation of using a two-sided hypothesis test with a significance level of This report shows the values of each of the parameters, one scenario per row. The values from this table are plotted in the chart below

5 Plots Section These plots show the relationship between alpha, power, and sample size in this example

6 Example 2 Finding the Sample Size Continuing with the last example, find the sample size necessary to achieve a power of 90% with a 0.05 significance level. Setup This section presents the values of each of the parameters needed to run this example. First, from the PASS Home window, load the Pearson s Correlation Tests procedure window by expanding Correlation, then Correlation, then clicking on Test (Inequality), and then clicking on Pearson s Correlation Tests. You may then make the appropriate entries as listed below, or open Example 2 by going to the File menu and choosing Open Example Template. Option Value Solve For... Sample Size Alternative Hypothesis... H1: ρ0 ρ1 Power Alpha ρ0 (Baseline Correlation) ρ1 (Alternative Correlation) Output Click the Calculate button to perform the calculations and generate the following output. Numeric Results Numeric Results for H1: ρ0 ρ1 Power N Alpha Beta ρ0 ρ The required sample size is 112. You would now experiment with the parameters to find out how much varying each will influence the sample size

7 Example 3 Validation using Zar Zar (1984) page 312 presents an example in which the power of a correlation coefficient is calculated. If N = 12, alpha = 0.05, ρ0 = 0, and ρ1 = 0.866, Zar calculates a power of 98% for a two-sided test. Setup This section presents the values of each of the parameters needed to run this example. First, from the PASS Home window, load the Pearson s Correlation Tests procedure window by expanding Correlation, then Correlation, then clicking on Test (Inequality), and then clicking on Pearson s Correlation Tests. You may then make the appropriate entries as listed below, or open Example 3 by going to the File menu and choosing Open Example Template. Option Value Solve For... Power Alternative Hypothesis... H1: ρ0 ρ1 Alpha N (Sample Size) ρ0 (Baseline Correlation) ρ1 (Alternative Correlation) Output Click the Calculate button to perform the calculations and generate the following output. Numeric Results Numeric Results for H1: ρ0 ρ1 Power N Alpha Beta ρ0 ρ The power of 0.98 matches Zar s results

8 Example 4 Validation using Graybill Graybill (1961) pages presents an example in which the power of a correlation coefficient is calculated when the baseline correlation is different from zero. Let N = 24, alpha = 0.05, and ρ1 = 0.5. Graybill calculates the power of a two-sided test when ρ1 = 0.2 and 0.3 to be and Setup This section presents the values of each of the parameters needed to run this example. First, from the PASS Home window, load the procedure window by expanding Correlation, then Correlation, then clicking on Test (Inequality), and then clicking on. You may then make the appropriate entries as listed below, or open Example 4 by going to the File menu and choosing Open Example Template. Option Value Solve For... Power Alternative Hypothesis... H1: ρ0 ρ1 Alpha N (Sample Size) ρ0 (Baseline Correlation) ρ1 (Alternative Correlation) Output Click the Calculate button to perform the calculations and generate the following output. Numeric Results Numeric Results for H1: ρ0 ρ1 Power N Alpha Beta ρ0 ρ The power values match Graybill s results to two decimal places

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