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# Psychology Statistics

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Research Methods

Factorial Designs Lab: Interactions

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Background information: Ordinal vs. Disordinal Interactions

Ordinal interaction: reflects the fact that an independent variable seems to have more

of an effect under one level of a second independent variable than under another level.

If you graph an ordinal interaction, the lines will not be parallel, but they will not cross.

It is called an ordinal interaction because the interaction may be due to having ordinal

data. That is, despite the existence of an interaction at the statistical level, the

independent variable may have the same psychological effect under all levels of the

second independent variable. Ordinal interactions may result from ceiling or floor

effects.

Disordinal (crossover) interaction: when an independent variable has one kind of effect

in the presence of one level of a second independent variable, but a different kind of

effect in the presence of a different level of the second independent variable. Examples:

Getting closer to someone may increase their attraction to you if you have just

complimented them, but may decrease their attraction to you if you have just insulted

them. It’s called a crossover interaction because the lines in a graph will cross. It’s called

a disordinal interaction because it cannot be explained as an artifact of having ordinal,

rather than interval, data.

Below are 6 possible data outcomes for a hypothetical study of the effects of Age

(young vs. old) and Education (high school vs. college) on Income (in thousands of

dollars). For each data outcome, list and describe all possible Main Effects and

Interaction Effects.

A.

High

School

College Overall

Young 40 40

Old 40 60

Overall

B.

High

School

College Overall

Young 60 40

Old 40 60

Overall

C.

High

School College Overall

Young 20 60

Old 40 80

Overall

D.

High

School College Overall

Young 20 20

Old 120 120

Overall

E.

High

School

College Overall

Young 40 60

Old 40 80

Overall

F.

High

School

College Overall

Young 30 45

Old 35 60

Overall

Based on 1997-1999 statistics from the U.S. Census Bureau, the actual situation is closest to Result F (Day

& Newburger, 2002). People with a college education earn more than those with only a high school

education in both age groups, but the difference is somewhat greater for the older group. Over the

course of a typical working life, people in the United States with a college degree earn an average on 1.8

times more than those with only a high school education.

Day, J.C., & Newburger, E.C. (2002). The big payoff: Educational attainment and synthetic estimates of

work-life earnings. Curent Population Report, Special Studies, p. 23-210. Washington, DC: U.S.

Department of Commerce, Economics and Statistics Administration, U.S. Census Bureau.

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