, Volume 42, Issue 1, pp 7-67

Nonmetric individual differences multidimensional scaling: An alternating least squares method with optimal scaling features

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A new procedure is discussed which fits either the weighted or simple Euclidian model to data that may (a) be defined at either the nominal, ordinal, interval or ratio levels of measurement; (b) have missing observations; (c) be symmetric or asymmetric; (d) be conditional or unconditional; (e) be replicated or unreplicated; and (f) be continuous or discrete. Various special cases of the procedure include the most commonly used individual differences multidimensional scaling models, the familiar nonmetric multidimensional scaling model, and several other previously undiscussed variants.

The procedure optimizes the fit of the model directly to the data (not to scalar products determined from the data) by an alternating least squares procedure which is convergent, very quick, and relatively free from local minimum problems.

The procedure is evaluated via both Monte Carlo and empirical data. It is found to be robust in the face of measurement error, capable of recovering the true underlying configuration in the Monte Carlo situation, and capable of obtaining structures equivalent to those obtained by other less general procedures in the empirical situation.

This project was supported in part by Research Grant No. MH10006 and Research Grant No. MH26504, awarded by the National Institute of Mental Health, DHEW. We wish to thank Robert F. Baker, J. Douglas Carroll, Joseph Kruskal, and Amnon Rapoport for comments on an earlier draft of this paper. Portions of the research reported here were presented to the spring meeting of the Psychometric Society, 1975. ALSCAL, a program to perform the computations discussed in this paper, may be obtained from any of the authors.
Jan de Leeuw is currently at Datatheorie, Central Rekeninstituut, Wassenaarseweg 80, Leiden, The Netherlands. Yoshio Takane can be reached at the Department of Psychology, University of Tokyo, Tokyo, Japan.