A multilevel nonlinear profile analysis model for dichotomous data

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This study linked nonlinear profile analysis (NPA) of dichotomous responses with an existing family of item response theory models and generalized latent variable models (GLVM). The NPA method offers several benefits over previous internal profile analysis methods: (a) NPA is estimated with maximum likelihood in a GLVM framework rather than relying on the choice of different dissimilarity measures that produce different results, (b) item and person parameters are computed during the same estimation step with an appropriate distribution for dichotomous variables, (c) the model estimates profile coordinate standard errors, and (d) additional individual-level variables can be included to model relationships with the profile parameters. An application examined experimental differences in topographic map comprehension among 288 subjects. The model produced a measure of overall test performance or comprehension in addition to pattern variables that measured the correspondence between subject response profiles and an item difficulty profile and an item-discrimination profile. The findings suggested that subjects who used 3-dimensional maps tended to correctly answer more items in addition to correctly answering items that were more discriminating indicators of map comprehension. The NPA analysis was also compared with results from a multidimensional item response theory model.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)646-667
Number of pages22
JournalMultivariate Behavioral Research
Issue number5
StatePublished - 2009
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Statistics and Probability
  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)


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