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In Multivariate behavioral research

A commentary by Thoemmes on Wiedermann and Sebastian's introductory article on Direction Dependence Analysis (DDA) is responded to in the interest of elaborating and extending direction dependence principles to evaluate causal effect directionality. Considering Thoemmes' observation that some DDA principles are already well-established in machine learning, we argue that several other connections between DDA and research lines in theoretical statistics, econometrics, and quantitative psychology exist, suggesting that DDA is best conceptualized as a framework that summarizes and extends existing knowledge on properties of linear models under non-normality. Further, Thoemmes articulates concerns about assumptions of error distributions used in our main article and presents an artificial data example in which some DDA tests have suboptimal statistical power. We present extensions of DDA to entirely relax distributional assumptions about errors and describe two sensitivity analysis approaches to critically evaluate DDA results. Both sensitivity approaches are illustrated using Thoemmes' artificial data example. Incorporating DDA sensitivity results yields correct causal conclusions. Thus, overall, we stay with our initial conclusion that the use of higher moments in causal inference constitutes an exciting open research area.

Wiedermann Wolfgang, Sebastian James


Direction of dependence, causal inference, sensitivity analysis