Enhancing power while controlling family-wise error: An illustration of the issues using electrocortical studies

Paul J. Yoder, Jennifer Urbano Blackford, Niels G. Waller, Geunyoung Kim

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

31 Scopus citations


This study examined the relative family-wise error (FWE) rate and statistical power of multivariate permutation tests (MPTs), Bonferroni-adjusted alpha, and uncorrected-alpha tests of significance for bivariate associations. Although there are many previous applications of MPTs, this is the first to apply it to testing bivariate associations. Electrocortical studies were selected as an example class because the sample sizes that are typical of electrocortical studies published in 2001 and 2002 are small and their multiple significance tests are typically nonindependent. Because Bonferroni adjustments assume independent predictors, we expected that MPTs would be more powerful than the Bonferroni adjustment. Results support the following conclusions: (a) failure to control for multiple significance testing results in unacceptable FWE rates, (b) the FWE rate for the MPTs approximated the alpha set for the analyses, and (c) the statistical power advantage that MPTs provide over Bonferroni adjustments is important when using small sample sizes such as those that are typical of recent electrocortical studies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)320-331
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Clinical and Experimental Neuropsychology
Issue number3
StatePublished - May 2004

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The work for this article was conducted while the authors were partially supported by the NICHD core grant HD15052 (to John F. Kennedy Center, Vanderbilt University).


Dive into the research topics of 'Enhancing power while controlling family-wise error: An illustration of the issues using electrocortical studies'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this