Conditional compositional biplots: theory and application

Aitchison, John
Ng, K.W.
The biplot has proved to be a powerful descriptive and analytical tool in many areas of applications of statistics. For compositional data the necessary theoretical adaptation has been provided, with illustrative applications, by Aitchison (1990) and Aitchison and Greenacre (2002). These papers were restricted to the interpretation of simple compositional data sets. In many situations the problem has to be described in some form of conditional modelling. For example, in a clinical trial where interest is in how patients’ steroid metabolite compositions may change as a result of different treatment regimes, interest is in relating the compositions after treatment to the compositions before treatment and the nature of the treatments applied. To study this through a biplot technique requires the development of some form of conditional compositional biplot. This is the purpose of this paper. We choose as a motivating application an analysis of the 1992 US President ial Election, where interest may be in how the three-part composition, the percentage division among the three candidates - Bush, Clinton and Perot - of the presidential vote in each state, depends on the ethnic composition and on the urban-rural composition of the state. The methodology of conditional compositional biplots is first developed and a detailed interpretation of the 1992 US Presidential Election provided. We use a second application involving the conditional variability of tektite mineral compositions with respect to major oxide compositions to demonstrate some hazards of simplistic interpretation of biplots. Finally we conjecture on further possible applications of conditional compositional biplots ​
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