# Categorical Effects as Random

Exploring random slopes for categorical covariates and similar models

Michael Clark https://m-clark.github.io
2020-03-01

Prerequisites: familiarity with mixed models

## Introduction

It’s often the case where, for mixed models, we want to look at random ‘slopes’ as well as random intercepts, such that coefficients for the fixed effects are expected to vary by group. This is very common in longitudinal settings, were we want to examine an overall trend, but allow the trend to vary by individual.

In such settings, when time is numeric, things are straightforward. The variance components are decomposed into parts for the intercept, the coefficient for the time indicator, and the residual variance (for linear mixed models). But what happens if we have only three time points? Does it make sense to treat it as numeric and hope for the best?

This came up in consulting because someone had a similar issue, and tried to keep the format for random slopes while treating the time indicator as categorical. This led to convergence issues, so we thought about what models might be possible. This post explores that scenario.

Packages used:

``````
library(tidyverse)
library(lme4)
library(mixedup)  # http://m-clark.github.io/mixedup``````

## Machines

### The Data

Let’s start with a very simple data set from the nlme package, which comes with the standard R installation. The reason I chose this is because Doug Bates has a good treatment on this topic using that example (starting at slide 85), which I just extend a bit.

Here is the data description from the help file.

Data on an experiment to compare three brands of machines used in an industrial process are presented in Milliken and Johnson (p. 285, 1992). Six workers were chosen randomly among the employees of a factory to operate each machine three times. The response is an overall productivity score taking into account the number and quality of components produced.

So for each worker and each machine, we’ll have three scores. Let’s look.

``````
machines = nlme::Machines

# for some reason worker is an ordered factor.
machines = machines %>%
mutate(Worker = factor(Worker, levels = 1:6, ordered = FALSE))``````
Worker Machine score
1 A 52.0
1 A 52.8
1 A 53.1
1 B 62.1
1 B 62.6
1 B 64.0

This duplicates the plot in Bates’ notes and visually describes the entire data set. There likely is variability due to both workers and machines.

### Random Effects Models

The random effects of potential interest are for worker and machine, so how do we specify this? Let’s try a standard approach. The following is the type of model tried by our client.

``````
model_m_slope = lmer(score ~ Machine + (1 + Machine | Worker), machines)``````
``````
Warning in checkConv(attr(opt, "derivs"), opt\$par, ctrl = control\$checkConv, : Model failed to converge with max|grad| =
0.00805193 (tol = 0.002, component 1)``````

This was exactly the same issue our client had- problematic convergence. This could be more of an issue with lme4, and we could certainly explore tweaks to make the problem go away (or use a different package like glmmTMB), but let’s go ahead and keep it.

``````
summarize_model(model_m_slope, ci = FALSE, cor_re = TRUE)``````
``````
Variance Components:``````
``````
Group    Effect Variance   SD Var_prop
Worker Intercept    16.68 4.08     0.25
Worker  MachineB    34.72 5.89     0.53
Worker  MachineC    13.62 3.69     0.21
Residual               0.92 0.96     0.01``````
``````
Correlation of Random Effects:``````
``````
Intercept MachineB MachineC
Intercept      1.00     0.49    -0.36
MachineB       0.49     1.00     0.30
MachineC      -0.36     0.30     1.00``````
``````

Fixed Effects:``````
``````
Term Value   SE     t P_value Lower_2.5 Upper_97.5
Intercept 52.36 1.68 31.12    0.00     49.06      55.65
MachineB  7.97 2.43  3.28    0.00      3.21      12.72
MachineC 13.92 1.54  9.03    0.00     10.90      16.94``````

We get the variance components we expect, i.e. the variance attributable to the intercept (i.e. Machine A), as well as for the slopes for the difference in machine B vs. A, and C vs. A. We also see the correlations among the random effects. It’s this part that Bates acknowledges is hard to estimate, and incurs estimating potentially notably more parameters than typical random effects models. We have different options that will be available to us though, so let’s try some.

Let’s start with the simplest, most plausible models. The first would be to have at least a worker effect. The next baseline model could be if we only had a machine by worker effect, i.e. a separate effect of each machine for each worker, essentially treating the interaction term as the sole clustering unit.

``````
model_base_w  = lmer(score ~ Machine + (1 | Worker), machines)
model_base_wm = lmer(score ~ Machine + (1 | Worker:Machine), machines)``````

Examining the random effects makes clear the difference between the two models. For our first baseline model, we only have 6 effects, one for each worker. For the second we have an effect of each machine for each worker.

``````
extract_random_effects(model_base_w)  # only 6 effects
extract_random_effects(model_base_wm) # 6 workers by 3 machines = 18 effects``````
group_var effect group value se lower_2.5 upper_97.5
Worker Intercept 1 1.210 1.032 -0.813 3.234
Worker Intercept 2 -1.594 1.032 -3.618 0.429
Worker Intercept 3 6.212 1.032 4.188 8.235
Worker Intercept 4 -0.069 1.032 -2.093 1.954
Worker Intercept 5 2.949 1.032 0.925 4.972
Worker Intercept 6 -8.707 1.032 -10.731 -6.684
group_var effect group value se lower_2.5 upper_97.5
Worker:Machine Intercept 1:A 0.275 0.553 -0.808 1.359
Worker:Machine Intercept 1:B 2.556 0.553 1.473 3.640
Worker:Machine Intercept 1:C 0.920 0.553 -0.164 2.004
Worker:Machine Intercept 2:A 0.209 0.553 -0.874 1.293
Worker:Machine Intercept 2:B -0.749 0.553 -1.833 0.334
Worker:Machine Intercept 2:C -4.402 0.553 -5.486 -3.318
Worker:Machine Intercept 3:A 7.118 0.553 6.035 8.202
Worker:Machine Intercept 3:B 7.647 0.553 6.563 8.731
Worker:Machine Intercept 3:C 4.490 0.553 3.407 5.574
Worker:Machine Intercept 4:A -1.113 0.553 -2.196 -0.029
Worker:Machine Intercept 4:B 2.391 0.553 1.307 3.475
Worker:Machine Intercept 4:C -1.493 0.553 -2.577 -0.409
Worker:Machine Intercept 5:A -0.981 0.553 -2.064 0.103
Worker:Machine Intercept 5:B 4.705 0.553 3.621 5.789
Worker:Machine Intercept 5:C 5.416 0.553 4.332 6.499
Worker:Machine Intercept 6:A -5.509 0.553 -6.593 -4.426
Worker:Machine Intercept 6:B -16.550 0.553 -17.634 -15.467
Worker:Machine Intercept 6:C -4.931 0.553 -6.014 -3.847

As a next step, we’ll essentially combine our two baseline models.

``````
model_w_wm = lmer(score ~ Machine + (1 | Worker) + (1 | Worker:Machine), machines)``````

Now we have 6 worker effects plus 18 machine within worker effects1.

``````
extract_random_effects(model_w_wm)``````
group_var effect group value se lower_2.5 upper_97.5
Worker:Machine Intercept 1:A -0.750 2.015 -4.699 3.198
Worker:Machine Intercept 1:B 1.500 2.015 -2.449 5.449
Worker:Machine Intercept 1:C -0.114 2.015 -4.063 3.834
Worker:Machine Intercept 2:A 1.553 2.015 -2.396 5.501
Worker:Machine Intercept 2:B 0.607 2.015 -3.342 4.555
Worker:Machine Intercept 2:C -2.997 2.015 -6.945 0.952
Worker:Machine Intercept 3:A 1.778 2.015 -2.171 5.726
Worker:Machine Intercept 3:B 2.299 2.015 -1.649 6.248
Worker:Machine Intercept 3:C -0.815 2.015 -4.763 3.134
Worker:Machine Intercept 4:A -1.039 2.015 -4.988 2.909
Worker:Machine Intercept 4:B 2.417 2.015 -1.531 6.366
Worker:Machine Intercept 4:C -1.414 2.015 -5.363 2.534
Worker:Machine Intercept 5:A -3.457 2.015 -7.405 0.492
Worker:Machine Intercept 5:B 2.152 2.015 -1.796 6.101
Worker:Machine Intercept 5:C 2.853 2.015 -1.095 6.802
Worker:Machine Intercept 6:A 1.916 2.015 -2.032 5.865
Worker:Machine Intercept 6:B -8.976 2.015 -12.924 -5.027
Worker:Machine Intercept 6:C 2.487 2.015 -1.462 6.435
Worker Intercept 1 1.045 1.981 -2.839 4.928
Worker Intercept 2 -1.376 1.981 -5.259 2.507
Worker Intercept 3 5.361 1.981 1.478 9.244
Worker Intercept 4 -0.060 1.981 -3.943 3.823
Worker Intercept 5 2.545 1.981 -1.339 6.428
Worker Intercept 6 -7.514 1.981 -11.397 -3.631

If you look closely at these effects, and add them together, you will get a value similar to our second baseline model, which is probably not too surprising. For example in the above model `1:B + 1` = 1.5 `+` 1.045. Looking at the initial model, the estimated random effect for `1:B` was 2.556. Likewise if we look at the variance components, we can see that the sum of the non-residual effect variances for `model_w_wm` equals the variance of `model_base_wm` (36.8). So this latest model allows us to disentangle the worker and machine effects, where our baseline models did not.

Next we’ll do the ‘vector-valued’ model Bates describes. This removes the intercept portion of the formula in the original random slopes model, but is otherwise the same. We can look at the results here, but I will hold off description for comparing it to other models. Note that at least have no convergence problem.

``````
model_m_vv = lmer(score ~ Machine + (0 + Machine | Worker), machines)

summarize_model(model_m_vv, ci = 0, cor_re = TRUE)``````
``````
Variance Components:``````
``````
Group   Effect Variance   SD Var_prop
Worker MachineA    16.67 4.08     0.15
Worker MachineB    74.30 8.62     0.67
Worker MachineC    19.27 4.39     0.17
Residual              0.93 0.96     0.01``````
``````
Correlation of Random Effects:``````
``````
MachineA MachineB MachineC
MachineA     1.00     0.80     0.62
MachineB     0.80     1.00     0.77
MachineC     0.62     0.77     1.00``````
``````

Fixed Effects:``````
``````
Term Value   SE     t P_value Lower_2.5 Upper_97.5
Intercept 52.36 1.68 31.12    0.00     49.06      55.65
MachineB  7.97 2.42  3.30    0.00      3.23      12.70
MachineC 13.92 1.54  9.05    0.00     10.90      16.93``````

### Summarize All the Models

Now let’s extract the fixed effect and variance component summaries for all the models.

``````
model_list = mget(ls(pattern = 'model_'))

fe = map_df(model_list, extract_fixed_effects, .id = 'model')

vc = map_df(model_list, extract_vc, ci_level = 0, .id = 'model')``````

First, let’s look at the fixed effects. We see that there are no differences in the coefficients for the fixed effect of machine, which is our only covariate in the model. However, there are notable differences for the estimated standard errors. Practically we’d come to no differences in our conclusions, but the uncertainty associated with them would be different.

model term value se t p_value lower_2.5 upper_97.5
model_base_w Intercept 52.356 2.229 23.485 0.000 47.986 56.725
model_base_w MachineB 7.967 1.054 7.559 0.000 5.901 10.032
model_base_w MachineC 13.917 1.054 13.205 0.000 11.851 15.982
model_base_wm Intercept 52.356 2.486 21.062 0.000 47.483 57.228
model_base_wm MachineB 7.967 3.516 2.266 0.023 1.076 14.857
model_base_wm MachineC 13.917 3.516 3.959 0.000 7.026 20.807
model_m_slope Intercept 52.356 1.683 31.116 0.000 49.058 55.653
model_m_slope MachineB 7.967 2.427 3.283 0.001 3.210 12.723
model_m_slope MachineC 13.917 1.541 9.033 0.000 10.897 16.936
model_m_vv Intercept 52.356 1.682 31.122 0.000 49.058 55.653
model_m_vv MachineB 7.967 2.416 3.297 0.001 3.230 12.703
model_m_vv MachineC 13.917 1.537 9.053 0.000 10.904 16.930
model_w_wm Intercept 52.356 2.486 21.062 0.000 47.483 57.228
model_w_wm MachineB 7.967 2.177 3.660 0.000 3.700 12.233
model_w_wm MachineC 13.917 2.177 6.393 0.000 9.650 18.183

Here are the variance components, there are definitely some differences here, but, as we’ll see, maybe not as much as we suspect.

model group effect variance sd var_prop
model_base_w Worker Intercept 26.487 5.147 0.726
model_base_w Residual 9.996 3.162 0.274
model_base_wm Worker:Machine Intercept 36.768 6.064 0.975
model_base_wm Residual 0.925 0.962 0.025
model_m_slope Worker Intercept 16.679 4.084 0.253
model_m_slope Worker MachineB 34.717 5.892 0.526
model_m_slope Worker MachineC 13.625 3.691 0.207
model_m_slope Residual 0.924 0.961 0.014
model_m_vv Worker MachineA 16.672 4.083 0.150
model_m_vv Worker MachineB 74.302 8.620 0.668
model_m_vv Worker MachineC 19.270 4.390 0.173
model_m_vv Residual 0.925 0.962 0.008
model_w_wm Worker:Machine Intercept 13.909 3.730 0.369
model_w_wm Worker Intercept 22.858 4.781 0.606
model_w_wm Residual 0.925 0.962 0.025

We can see that the `base_wm` model has (non-residual) variance 36.768. This equals the total of the two (non-residual) variance components of the `w_wm` model 13.909 `+` 22.858, which again speaks to the latter model decomposing a machine effect into worker + machine effects. This value also equals the variance of the vector-valued model divided by the number of groups (16.672 + 74.302 + 19.27) `/` 3.

We can see that the estimated random effects from the vector-valued model (`m_vv`) are essentially the same as from the baseline, interaction-only model. However, the way it is estimated allows for incorporation of correlations among the machine random effects, so they are not identical (but pretty close).

``````
extract_random_effects(model_m_vv)

extract_random_effects(model_base_wm) ``````
group_var effect group value se lower_2.5 upper_97.5
Worker MachineA 1 0.312 0.541 -0.749 1.373
Worker MachineB 1 2.553 0.551 1.474 3.632
Worker MachineC 1 0.930 0.545 -0.137 1.998
Worker MachineA 2 0.183 0.541 -0.878 1.245
Worker MachineB 2 -0.803 0.551 -1.882 0.276
Worker MachineC 2 -4.282 0.545 -5.350 -3.214
Worker MachineA 3 6.969 0.541 5.908 8.031
Worker MachineB 3 7.779 0.551 6.700 8.858
Worker MachineC 3 4.474 0.545 3.406 5.542
Worker MachineA 4 -1.024 0.541 -2.085 0.037
Worker MachineB 4 2.328 0.551 1.249 3.408
Worker MachineC 4 -1.415 0.545 -2.482 -0.347
Worker MachineA 5 -0.849 0.541 -1.910 0.212
Worker MachineB 5 4.726 0.551 3.647 5.805
Worker MachineC 5 5.323 0.545 4.255 6.390
Worker MachineA 6 -5.592 0.541 -6.653 -4.531
Worker MachineB 6 -16.583 0.551 -17.662 -15.504
Worker MachineC 6 -5.030 0.545 -6.098 -3.963
group_var effect group value se lower_2.5 upper_97.5
Worker:Machine Intercept 1:A 0.275 0.553 -0.808 1.359
Worker:Machine Intercept 1:B 2.556 0.553 1.473 3.640
Worker:Machine Intercept 1:C 0.920 0.553 -0.164 2.004
Worker:Machine Intercept 2:A 0.209 0.553 -0.874 1.293
Worker:Machine Intercept 2:B -0.749 0.553 -1.833 0.334
Worker:Machine Intercept 2:C -4.402 0.553 -5.486 -3.318
Worker:Machine Intercept 3:A 7.118 0.553 6.035 8.202
Worker:Machine Intercept 3:B 7.647 0.553 6.563 8.731
Worker:Machine Intercept 3:C 4.490 0.553 3.407 5.574
Worker:Machine Intercept 4:A -1.113 0.553 -2.196 -0.029
Worker:Machine Intercept 4:B 2.391 0.553 1.307 3.475
Worker:Machine Intercept 4:C -1.493 0.553 -2.577 -0.409
Worker:Machine Intercept 5:A -0.981 0.553 -2.064 0.103
Worker:Machine Intercept 5:B 4.705 0.553 3.621 5.789
Worker:Machine Intercept 5:C 5.416 0.553 4.332 6.499
Worker:Machine Intercept 6:A -5.509 0.553 -6.593 -4.426
Worker:Machine Intercept 6:B -16.550 0.553 -17.634 -15.467
Worker:Machine Intercept 6:C -4.931 0.553 -6.014 -3.847

Even the default way that the extracted random effects are structured implies this difference. In the vector-valued model we have a multivariate normal draw for 3 machines (i.e. 3 variances and 3 covariances) for each of six workers. In the baseline model, we do not estimate any covariances and assume equal variance to draw for 18 groups (1 variance).

``````
ranef(model_m_vv)``````
``````
\$Worker
MachineA    MachineB   MachineC
1  0.3121470   2.5531279  0.9302595
2  0.1833294  -0.8032619 -4.2820004
3  6.9694168   7.7792265  4.4740418
4 -1.0238949   2.3283434 -1.4146891
5 -0.8487803   4.7258593  5.3227211
6 -5.5922179 -16.5832953 -5.0303328

with conditional variances for "Worker" ``````
``````
ranef(model_base_wm)``````
``````
\$`Worker:Machine`
(Intercept)
1:A   0.2754687
1:B   2.5563491
1:C   0.9200653
2:A   0.2093562
2:B  -0.7492747
2:C  -4.4019891
3:A   7.1181101
3:B   7.6470099
3:C   4.4901391
4:A  -1.1128934
4:B   2.3910679
4:C  -1.4930401
5:A  -0.9806684
5:B   4.7050047
5:C   5.4157138
6:A  -5.5093731
6:B -16.5501569
6:C  -4.9308890

with conditional variances for "Worker:Machine" ``````

Now let’s compare the models directly via AIC. As we would expect if we dummy coded a predictor vs. running a model without the intercept (e.g. `lm(score ~ machine)`, vs. `lm(score ~ -1 + machine)`), the random slope model and vector-valued models are identical and produce the same AIC. Likewise the intercept variance of the former is equal to the first group variance of the vector-valued model.

model_base_w model_base_wm model_m_slope model_m_vv model_w_wm
296.878 231.256 228.311 228.311 227.688

While such a model is doing better than either of our baseline models, it turns out that our other approach is slightly better, as the additional complexity of estimating the covariances and separate variances wasn’t really worth it.

At this point we’ve seen a couple of ways of doing a model in this situation. Some may be a little too simplistic for a given scenario, others may not capture the correlation structure the way we’d want. In any case, we have options to explore.

## Simulation

The following is a simplified approach to creating data in this scenario, and allows us to play around with the settings to see what happens.

### Data Creation

First we need some data. The following creates a group identifier similar to `Worker` in our previous example, a `cat_var` like our `Machine`, and other covariates just to make it interesting.

``````
# for simplicity keeping to 3 cat levels
set.seed(1234)
ng = 5000     # n groups
cat_levs = 3  # n levels per group
reps = 4      # number of obs per level per cat

id = rep(1:ng, each = cat_levs * reps)           # id indicator (e.g. like Worker)
cat_var = rep(1:cat_levs, times = ng, e = reps)  # categorical variable (e.g. Machine)
x = rnorm(ng * cat_levs * reps)                  # continuous covariate
x_c = rep(rnorm(ng), e = cat_levs * reps)        # continuous cluster level covariate``````

So we have the basic data in place, now we need to create the random effects. There are several ways we could do this, including more efficient ones, but this approach focuses on a conceptual approach and on the model that got us here, i.e. something of the form `(1 + cat_var | group)`. In this case we assume this model is ‘correct’, so we’re going to create a multivariate normal draw of random effects for each level of the `cat_var`, which is only 3 levels. The correlations depicted are the estimates we expect from our model for the random effects2.

``````
# as correlated  (1, .5, .5) var, (1, .25, .25) sd
cov_mat = lazerhawk::create_corr(c(.1, .25, .25), diagonal = c(1, .5, .5))

cov2cor(cov_mat)  # these will be the estimated correlations for the random_slope model``````
``````
[,1]      [,2]      [,3]
[1,] 1.0000000 0.1414214 0.3535534
[2,] 0.1414214 1.0000000 0.5000000
[3,] 0.3535534 0.5000000 1.0000000``````

Now we create the random effects by drawing an effect for each categorical level for each group.

``````
# take a multivariate normal draw for each of the groups in `id`
re_id_cat_lev = mvtnorm::rmvnorm(ng, mean = rep(0, 3), sigma = cov_mat) %>%
data.frame()

``````
X1          X2          X3
1  0.5618465  0.62780841  1.15175459
2  0.6588685  0.78045939  0.25942427
3  0.2680315 -0.06403496  1.30173301
4 -0.3711184  0.37579392 -0.03242486
5 -1.1306064 -0.08450038 -0.38165685
6 -0.7537223  0.65320469  0.33269260``````

Now that we have the random effects, we can create our target variable. We do this by adding our first effect to the intercept, and the others to their respective coefficients.

``````
y =
# fixed effect = (2, .5, -.5)
2  + .5*x - .5*x_c +
# random intercept
rep(re_id_cat_lev[, 1], each = cat_levs * reps) +
# .25 is the fixef for group 2 vs. 1
(.25 + rep(re_id_cat_lev[, 2], each = cat_levs * reps)) * (cat_var == 2) +
# .40 is the fixef for group 3 vs. 1
(.40 + rep(re_id_cat_lev[, 3], each = cat_levs * reps)) * (cat_var == 3) +
rnorm(ng * cat_levs * reps, sd = .5)``````

Now we create a data frame so we can see everything together.

``````
df = tibble(
id,
cat_var,
x,
x_c,
y,
re_id = rep(re_id_cat_lev[, 1], each = cat_levs*reps),
re_id_cat_lev2 = rep(re_id_cat_lev[, 2], each = cat_levs*reps),
re_id_cat_lev3 = rep(re_id_cat_lev[, 3], each = cat_levs*reps)
) %>%
mutate(
cat_var = factor(cat_var),
cat_as_num = as.integer(cat_var),
id = factor(id)
)

df %>% print(n = 30)``````
``````
# A tibble: 60,000 x 9
id    cat_var       x    x_c     y re_id re_id_cat_lev2 re_id_cat_lev3 cat_as_num
<fct> <fct>     <dbl>  <dbl> <dbl> <dbl>          <dbl>          <dbl>      <int>
1 1     1       -1.21   -1.43  3.04  0.562         0.628           1.15           1
2 1     1        0.277  -1.43  3.35  0.562         0.628           1.15           1
3 1     1        1.08   -1.43  3.46  0.562         0.628           1.15           1
4 1     1       -2.35   -1.43  2.64  0.562         0.628           1.15           1
5 1     2        0.429  -1.43  4.59  0.562         0.628           1.15           2
6 1     2        0.506  -1.43  3.61  0.562         0.628           1.15           2
7 1     2       -0.575  -1.43  3.54  0.562         0.628           1.15           2
8 1     2       -0.547  -1.43  2.98  0.562         0.628           1.15           2
9 1     3       -0.564  -1.43  5.28  0.562         0.628           1.15           3
10 1     3       -0.890  -1.43  4.06  0.562         0.628           1.15           3
11 1     3       -0.477  -1.43  4.31  0.562         0.628           1.15           3
12 1     3       -0.998  -1.43  4.70  0.562         0.628           1.15           3
13 2     1       -0.776   0.126 2.25  0.659         0.780           0.259          1
14 2     1        0.0645  0.126 2.48  0.659         0.780           0.259          1
15 2     1        0.959   0.126 2.99  0.659         0.780           0.259          1
16 2     1       -0.110   0.126 2.55  0.659         0.780           0.259          1
17 2     2       -0.511   0.126 3.94  0.659         0.780           0.259          2
18 2     2       -0.911   0.126 3.22  0.659         0.780           0.259          2
19 2     2       -0.837   0.126 3.98  0.659         0.780           0.259          2
20 2     2        2.42    0.126 4.59  0.659         0.780           0.259          2
21 2     3        0.134   0.126 3.58  0.659         0.780           0.259          3
22 2     3       -0.491   0.126 3.31  0.659         0.780           0.259          3
23 2     3       -0.441   0.126 2.66  0.659         0.780           0.259          3
24 2     3        0.460   0.126 3.42  0.659         0.780           0.259          3
25 3     1       -0.694   0.437 0.985 0.268        -0.0640          1.30           1
26 3     1       -1.45    0.437 2.08  0.268        -0.0640          1.30           1
27 3     1        0.575   0.437 2.62  0.268        -0.0640          1.30           1
28 3     1       -1.02    0.437 1.24  0.268        -0.0640          1.30           1
29 3     2       -0.0151  0.437 2.24  0.268        -0.0640          1.30           2
30 3     2       -0.936   0.437 2.57  0.268        -0.0640          1.30           2
# … with 5.997e+04 more rows``````

### Run the Models & Summarize

With everything in place, let’s run four models similar to our previous models from the Machine example:

1. The baseline model that does not distinguish the id from cat_var variance.
2. The random slope approach (data generating model)
3. The vector valued model (equivalent to #2)
4. The scalar model that does not estimate the random effect correlations
``````
m_interaction_only = lmer(y ~ x + x_c + cat_var + (1 | id:cat_var), df)
m_random_slope = lmer(y ~ x + x_c + cat_var + (1 + cat_var | id), df)
m_vector_valued = lmer(y ~ x + x_c + cat_var + (0 + cat_var | id), df)
m_separate_re = lmer(y ~ x + x_c + cat_var + (1 | id) + (1 | id:cat_var), df)``````
``````
model_mixed = list(
m_interaction_only = m_interaction_only,
m_random_slope = m_random_slope,
m_vector_valued = m_vector_valued,
m_separate_re = m_separate_re
)

# model summaries if desired
# map(model_mixed, summarize_model, ci = 0, cor_re = TRUE)
fe = map_df(model_mixed, extract_fixed_effects, .id = 'model')
vc = map_df(model_mixed, extract_vc, ci_level = 0, .id = 'model')``````

Looking at the fixed effects, we get what we should but, as before, we do see differences in the standard errors.

model term value se t p_value lower_2.5 upper_97.5
m_interaction_only Intercept 2.006 0.018 111.051 0 1.971 2.042
m_interaction_only x 0.497 0.002 212.962 0 0.492 0.501
m_interaction_only x_c -0.489 0.010 -46.776 0 -0.509 -0.469
m_interaction_only cat_var2 0.256 0.026 10.026 0 0.206 0.306
m_interaction_only cat_var3 0.389 0.026 15.228 0 0.339 0.439
m_random_slope Intercept 2.006 0.015 136.942 0 1.977 2.035
m_random_slope x 0.497 0.002 217.676 0 0.493 0.502
m_random_slope x_c -0.495 0.014 -34.636 0 -0.523 -0.467
m_random_slope cat_var2 0.256 0.011 23.038 0 0.234 0.278
m_random_slope cat_var3 0.389 0.011 34.969 0 0.367 0.411
m_vector_valued Intercept 2.006 0.015 136.944 0 1.977 2.035
m_vector_valued x 0.497 0.002 217.676 0 0.493 0.502
m_vector_valued x_c -0.495 0.014 -34.636 0 -0.523 -0.467
m_vector_valued cat_var2 0.256 0.011 23.038 0 0.234 0.278
m_vector_valued cat_var3 0.389 0.011 34.969 0 0.367 0.411
m_separate_re Intercept 2.006 0.018 111.045 0 1.971 2.042
m_separate_re x 0.497 0.002 216.586 0 0.493 0.502
m_separate_re x_c -0.489 0.017 -28.883 0 -0.522 -0.456
m_separate_re cat_var2 0.256 0.011 23.077 0 0.234 0.278
m_separate_re cat_var3 0.389 0.011 35.050 0 0.367 0.411

The variance components break down as before.

model group effect variance sd var_prop
m_interaction_only id:cat_var Intercept 1.570 1.253 0.864
m_interaction_only Residual 0.247 0.497 0.136
m_random_slope id Intercept 1.011 1.006 0.450
m_random_slope id cat_var2 0.494 0.703 0.220
m_random_slope id cat_var3 0.495 0.704 0.220
m_random_slope Residual 0.247 0.497 0.110
m_vector_valued id cat_var1 1.011 1.006 0.204
m_vector_valued id cat_var2 1.709 1.307 0.345
m_vector_valued id cat_var3 1.990 1.411 0.401
m_vector_valued Residual 0.247 0.497 0.050
m_separate_re id:cat_var Intercept 0.246 0.496 0.135
m_separate_re id Intercept 1.324 1.151 0.728
m_separate_re Residual 0.247 0.497 0.136

In this case, we know the model with correlated random effects is the more accurate model, and this is born out via AIC.

m_interaction_only m_random_slope m_vector_valued m_separate_re
135592.8 122051.9 122051.9 123745.2

### Change the model orientation

Now I will make the `vector_valued` model reduce to the `separate_re` model. First, we create a covariance matrix that has equal variances/covariances (i.e. compound symmetry), and for demonstration, we will apply the random effects a little differently. So, when we create the target variable, we make a slight alteration to apply it to the vector valued model instead.

``````
set.seed(1234)

cov_mat = lazerhawk::create_corr(c(0.1, 0.1, 0.1), diagonal = c(.5, .5, .5))

cov2cor(cov_mat)  # these will now be the estimated correlations for the vector_valued model``````
``````
[,1] [,2] [,3]
[1,]  1.0  0.2  0.2
[2,]  0.2  1.0  0.2
[3,]  0.2  0.2  1.0``````
``````
re_id_cat_lev = mvtnorm::rmvnorm(ng, mean = rep(0, 3), sigma = cov_mat) %>%
data.frame()

y = 2  + .5*x - .5*x_c +   # fixed effect = (2, .5, -.5)
rep(re_id_cat_lev[, 1], each = cat_levs * reps) * (cat_var == 1) +     # added this
rep(re_id_cat_lev[, 2], each = cat_levs * reps) * (cat_var == 2) +
rep(re_id_cat_lev[, 3], each = cat_levs * reps) * (cat_var == 3) +
.25 * (cat_var == 2) +  # .25 is the fixef for group 2 vs. 1
.40 * (cat_var == 3) +  # .40 is the fixef for group 3 vs. 1
rnorm(ng * cat_levs * reps, sd = .5)

df = tibble(
id,
cat_var  = factor(cat_var),
x,
x_c,
y
)``````

Rerun the models.

``````
m_random_slope = lmer(y ~ x + x_c + cat_var + (1 + cat_var | id), df)  # still problems!
m_vector_valued = lmer(y ~ x + x_c + cat_var + (0 + cat_var | id), df)
m_separate_re = lmer(y ~ x + x_c + cat_var + (1 | id) + (1 | id:cat_var), df)``````

Examine the variance components.

``````
model_mixed = list(
m_random_slope = m_random_slope,
m_vector_valued = m_vector_valued,
m_separate_re = m_separate_re
)

# model summaries if desired
# map(model_mixed, summarize_model, ci = 0, cor_re = TRUE)

# fixed effects if desired
# fe = map_df(model_mixed, extract_fixed_effects, .id = 'model')

vc = map_df(model_mixed, extract_vc, ci_level = 0, .id = 'model')``````
model group effect variance sd var_prop
m_random_slope id Intercept 0.491 0.700 0.213
m_random_slope id cat_var2 0.786 0.886 0.341
m_random_slope id cat_var3 0.778 0.882 0.337
m_random_slope Residual 0.251 0.501 0.109
m_vector_valued id cat_var1 0.491 0.700 0.283
m_vector_valued id cat_var2 0.497 0.705 0.287
m_vector_valued id cat_var3 0.492 0.702 0.284
m_vector_valued Residual 0.251 0.501 0.145
m_separate_re id:cat_var Intercept 0.395 0.628 0.530
m_separate_re id Intercept 0.099 0.314 0.133
m_separate_re Residual 0.251 0.501 0.337

In this case, we know the true case regards zero correlations and equal variances, so estimating them is adding complexity we don’t need, thus our simpler model wins (log likelihoods are essentially the same).

parameter m_random_slope m_vector_valued m_separate_re
LL -59818.9 -59818.9 -59819.72
AIC 119661.8 119661.8 119655.45

## Summary

Here we’ve demonstrated a couple of different ways to specify a particular model with random slopes for a categorical covariate. Intuition may lead to a model that is not easy to estimate, often leading to convergence problems. Sometimes, this model may be overly complicated, and a simpler version will likely have less estimation difficulty. Try it out if you run into trouble!

1. Though I use the word ‘within’, do not take it to mean we have nested data.↩︎

2. I use a personal package to create the matrix where I can just specify the lower diagonal, as this comes up a lot for simulation. Feel free to just create the matrix directly given it’s just a 3x3.↩︎

### Corrections

If you see mistakes or want to suggest changes, please create an issue on the source repository.

### Reuse

Text and figures are licensed under Creative Commons Attribution CC BY-SA 4.0. Source code is available at https://github.com//m-clark/m-clark.github.io, unless otherwise noted. The figures that have been reused from other sources don't fall under this license and can be recognized by a note in their caption: "Figure from ...".

### Citation

For attribution, please cite this work as

`Clark (2020, March 1). Michael Clark: Categorical Effects as Random. Retrieved from https://m-clark.github.io/posts/2020-03-01-random-categorical/`

BibTeX citation

```@misc{clark2020categorical,
author = {Clark, Michael},
title = {Michael Clark: Categorical Effects as Random},
url = {https://m-clark.github.io/posts/2020-03-01-random-categorical/},
year = {2020}
}```