# Two sample t test - equal variances not assumed - overview

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Two sample $t$ test - equal variances not assumed
One way ANOVA
Mann-Whitney-Wilcoxon test
Independent/grouping variableIndependent/grouping variableIndependent/grouping variable
One categorical with 2 independent groupsOne categorical with $I$ independent groups ($I \geqslant 2$)One categorical with 2 independent groups
Dependent variableDependent variableDependent variable
One quantitative of interval or ratio levelOne quantitative of interval or ratio levelOne of ordinal level
Null hypothesisNull hypothesisNull hypothesis
H0: $\mu_1 = \mu_2$

Here $\mu_1$ is the population mean for group 1, and $\mu_2$ is the population mean for group 2.
ANOVA $F$ test:
• H0: $\mu_1 = \mu_2 = \ldots = \mu_I$
$\mu_1$ is the population mean for group 1; $\mu_2$ is the population mean for group 2; $\mu_I$ is the population mean for group $I$
$t$ Test for contrast:
• H0: $\Psi = 0$
$\Psi$ is the population contrast, defined as $\Psi = \sum a_i\mu_i$. Here $\mu_i$ is the population mean for group $i$ and $a_i$ is the coefficient for $\mu_i$. The coefficients $a_i$ sum to 0.
$t$ Test multiple comparisons:
• H0: $\mu_g = \mu_h$
$\mu_g$ is the population mean for group $g$; $\mu_h$ is the population mean for group $h$
If the dependent variable is measured on a continuous scale and the shape of the distribution of the dependent variable is the same in both populations:
• H0: the population median for group 1 is equal to the population median for group 2
Else:
Formulation 1:
• H0: the population scores in group 1 are not systematically higher or lower than the population scores in group 2
Formulation 2:
• H0: P(an observation from population 1 exceeds an observation from population 2) = P(an observation from population 2 exceeds observation from population 1)
Several different formulations of the null hypothesis can be found in the literature, and we do not agree with all of them. Make sure you (also) learn the one that is given in your text book or by your teacher.
Alternative hypothesisAlternative hypothesisAlternative hypothesis
H1 two sided: $\mu_1 \neq \mu_2$
H1 right sided: $\mu_1 > \mu_2$
H1 left sided: $\mu_1 < \mu_2$
ANOVA $F$ test:
• H1: not all population means are equal
$t$ Test for contrast:
• H1 two sided: $\Psi \neq 0$
• H1 right sided: $\Psi > 0$
• H1 left sided: $\Psi < 0$
$t$ Test multiple comparisons:
• H1 - usually two sided: $\mu_g \neq \mu_h$
If the dependent variable is measured on a continuous scale and the shape of the distribution of the dependent variable is the same in both populations:
• H1 two sided: the population median for group 1 is not equal to the population median for group 2
• H1 right sided: the population median for group 1 is larger than the population median for group 2
• H1 left sided: the population median for group 1 is smaller than the population median for group 2
Else:
Formulation 1:
• H1 two sided: the population scores in group 1 are systematically higher or lower than the population scores in group 2
• H1 right sided: the population scores in group 1 are systematically higher than the population scores in group 2
• H1 left sided: the population scores in group 1 are systematically lower than the population scores in group 2
Formulation 2:
• H1 two sided: P(an observation from population 1 exceeds an observation from population 2) $\neq$ P(an observation from population 2 exceeds an observation from population 1)
• H1 right sided: P(an observation from population 1 exceeds an observation from population 2) > P(an observation from population 2 exceeds an observation from population 1)
• H1 left sided: P(an observation from population 1 exceeds an observation from population 2) < P(an observation from population 2 exceeds an observation from population 1)
AssumptionsAssumptionsAssumptions
• Within each population, the scores on the dependent variable are normally distributed
• Group 1 sample is a simple random sample (SRS) from population 1, group 2 sample is an independent SRS from population 2. That is, within and between groups, observations are independent of one another
• Within each population, the scores on the dependent variable are normally distributed
• The standard deviation of the scores on the dependent variable is the same in each of the populations: $\sigma_1 = \sigma_2 = \ldots = \sigma_I$
• Group 1 sample is a simple random sample (SRS) from population 1, group 2 sample is an independent SRS from population 2, $\ldots$, group $I$ sample is an independent SRS from population $I$. That is, within and between groups, observations are independent of one another
• Group 1 sample is a simple random sample (SRS) from population 1, group 2 sample is an independent SRS from population 2. That is, within and between groups, observations are independent of one another
Test statisticTest statisticTest statistic
$t = \dfrac{(\bar{y}_1 - \bar{y}_2) - 0}{\sqrt{\dfrac{s^2_1}{n_1} + \dfrac{s^2_2}{n_2}}} = \dfrac{\bar{y}_1 - \bar{y}_2}{\sqrt{\dfrac{s^2_1}{n_1} + \dfrac{s^2_2}{n_2}}}$
Here $\bar{y}_1$ is the sample mean in group 1, $\bar{y}_2$ is the sample mean in group 2, $s^2_1$ is the sample variance in group 1, $s^2_2$ is the sample variance in group 2, $n_1$ is the sample size of group 1, and $n_2$ is the sample size of group 2. The 0 represents the difference in population means according to the null hypothesis.

The denominator $\sqrt{\frac{s^2_1}{n_1} + \frac{s^2_2}{n_2}}$ is the standard error of the sampling distribution of $\bar{y}_1 - \bar{y}_2$. The $t$ value indicates how many standard errors $\bar{y}_1 - \bar{y}_2$ is removed from 0.

Note: we could just as well compute $\bar{y}_2 - \bar{y}_1$ in the numerator, but then the left sided alternative becomes $\mu_2 < \mu_1$, and the right sided alternative becomes $\mu_2 > \mu_1$.
ANOVA $F$ test:
• \begin{aligned}[t] F &= \dfrac{\sum\nolimits_{subjects} (\mbox{subject's group mean} - \mbox{overall mean})^2 / (I - 1)}{\sum\nolimits_{subjects} (\mbox{subject's score} - \mbox{its group mean})^2 / (N - I)}\\ &= \dfrac{\mbox{sum of squares between} / \mbox{degrees of freedom between}}{\mbox{sum of squares error} / \mbox{degrees of freedom error}}\\ &= \dfrac{\mbox{mean square between}}{\mbox{mean square error}} \end{aligned}
where $N$ is the total sample size, and $I$ is the number of groups.
Note: mean square between is also known as mean square model, and mean square error is also known as mean square residual or mean square within.
$t$ Test for contrast:
• $t = \dfrac{c}{s_p\sqrt{\sum \dfrac{a^2_i}{n_i}}}$
Here $c$ is the sample estimate of the population contrast $\Psi$: $c = \sum a_i\bar{y}_i$, with $\bar{y}_i$ the sample mean in group $i$. $s_p$ is the pooled standard deviation based on all the $I$ groups in the ANOVA, $a_i$ is the contrast coefficient for group $i$, and $n_i$ is the sample size of group $i$.
Note that if the contrast compares only two group means with each other, this $t$ statistic is very similar to the two sample $t$ statistic (assuming equal population standard deviations). In that case the only difference is that we now base the pooled standard deviation on all the $I$ groups, which affects the $t$ value if $I \geqslant 3$. It also affects the corresponding degrees of freedom.
$t$ Test multiple comparisons:
• $t = \dfrac{\bar{y}_g - \bar{y}_h}{s_p\sqrt{\dfrac{1}{n_g} + \dfrac{1}{n_h}}}$
$\bar{y}_g$ is the sample mean in group $g$, $\bar{y}_h$ is the sample mean in group $h$, $s_p$ is the pooled standard deviation based on all the $I$ groups in the ANOVA, $n_g$ is the sample size of group $g$, and $n_h$ is the sample size of group $h$.
Note that this $t$ statistic is very similar to the two sample $t$ statistic (assuming equal population standard deviations). The only difference is that we now base the pooled standard deviation on all the $I$ groups, which affects the $t$ value if $I \geqslant 3$. It also affects the corresponding degrees of freedom.
Two different types of test statistics can be used; both will result in the same test outcome. The first is the Wilcoxon rank sum statistic $W$:
The second type of test statistic is the Mann-Whitney $U$ statistic:
• $U = W - \dfrac{n_1(n_1 + 1)}{2}$
where $n_1$ is the sample size of group 1.

Note: we could just as well base W and U on group 2. This would only 'flip' the right and left sided alternative hypotheses. Also, tables with critical values for $U$ are often based on the smaller of $U$ for group 1 and for group 2.
n.a.Pooled standard deviationn.a.
-\begin{aligned} s_p &= \sqrt{\dfrac{(n_1 - 1) \times s^2_1 + (n_2 - 1) \times s^2_2 + \ldots + (n_I - 1) \times s^2_I}{N - I}}\\ &= \sqrt{\dfrac{\sum\nolimits_{subjects} (\mbox{subject's score} - \mbox{its group mean})^2}{N - I}}\\ &= \sqrt{\dfrac{\mbox{sum of squares error}}{\mbox{degrees of freedom error}}}\\ &= \sqrt{\mbox{mean square error}} \end{aligned}

Here $s^2_i$ is the variance in group $i.$
-
Sampling distribution of $t$ if H0 were trueSampling distribution of $F$ and of $t$ if H0 were trueSampling distribution of $W$ and of $U$ if H0 were true
Approximately the $t$ distribution with $k$ degrees of freedom, with $k$ equal to
$k = \dfrac{\Bigg(\dfrac{s^2_1}{n_1} + \dfrac{s^2_2}{n_2}\Bigg)^2}{\dfrac{1}{n_1 - 1} \Bigg(\dfrac{s^2_1}{n_1}\Bigg)^2 + \dfrac{1}{n_2 - 1} \Bigg(\dfrac{s^2_2}{n_2}\Bigg)^2}$
or
$k$ = the smaller of $n_1$ - 1 and $n_2$ - 1

First definition of $k$ is used by computer programs, second definition is often used for hand calculations.
Sampling distribution of $F$:
• $F$ distribution with $I - 1$ (df between, numerator) and $N - I$ (df error, denominator) degrees of freedom
Sampling distribution of $t$:
• $t$ distribution with $N - I$ degrees of freedom

Sampling distribution of $W$:
For large samples, $W$ is approximately normally distributed with mean $\mu_W$ and standard deviation $\sigma_W$ if the null hypothesis were true. Here \begin{aligned} \mu_W &= \dfrac{n_1(n_1 + n_2 + 1)}{2}\\ \sigma_W &= \sqrt{\dfrac{n_1 n_2(n_1 + n_2 + 1)}{12}} \end{aligned} Hence, for large samples, the standardized test statistic $$z_W = \dfrac{W - \mu_W}{\sigma_W}\\$$ follows approximately the standard normal distribution if the null hypothesis were true. Note that if your $W$ value is based on group 2, $\mu_W$ becomes $\frac{n_2(n_1 + n_2 + 1)}{2}$.

Sampling distribution of $U$:
For large samples, $U$ is approximately normally distributed with mean $\mu_U$ and standard deviation $\sigma_U$ if the null hypothesis were true. Here \begin{aligned} \mu_U &= \dfrac{n_1 n_2}{2}\\ \sigma_U &= \sqrt{\dfrac{n_1 n_2(n_1 + n_2 + 1)}{12}} \end{aligned} Hence, for large samples, the standardized test statistic $$z_U = \dfrac{U - \mu_U}{\sigma_U}\\$$ follows approximately the standard normal distribution if the null hypothesis were true.

For small samples, the exact distribution of $W$ or $U$ should be used.

Note: if ties are present in the data, the formula for the standard deviations $\sigma_W$ and $\sigma_U$ is more complicated.
Significant?Significant?Significant?
Two sided:
Right sided:
Left sided:
$F$ test:
• Check if $F$ observed in sample is equal to or larger than critical value $F^*$ or
• Find $p$ value corresponding to observed $F$ and check if it is equal to or smaller than $\alpha$ (e.g. .01 < $p$ < .025 when $F$ = 3.91, df between = 4, and df error = 20)

$t$ Test for contrast two sided:
$t$ Test for contrast right sided:
$t$ Test for contrast left sided:

$t$ Test multiple comparisons two sided:
• Check if $t$ observed in sample is at least as extreme as critical value $t^{**}$. Adapt $t^{**}$ according to a multiple comparison procedure (e.g., Bonferroni) or
• Find two sided $p$ value corresponding to observed $t$ and check if it is equal to or smaller than $\alpha$. Adapt the $p$ value or $\alpha$ according to a multiple comparison procedure
$t$ Test multiple comparisons right sided
• Check if $t$ observed in sample is equal to or larger than critical value $t^{**}$. Adapt $t^{**}$ according to a multiple comparison procedure (e.g., Bonferroni) or
• Find right sided $p$ value corresponding to observed $t$ and check if it is equal to or smaller than $\alpha$. Adapt the $p$ value or $\alpha$ according to a multiple comparison procedure
$t$ Test multiple comparisons left sided
• Check if $t$ observed in sample is equal to or smaller than critical value $t^{**}$. Adapt $t^{**}$ according to a multiple comparison procedure (e.g., Bonferroni) or
• Find left sided $p$ value corresponding to observed $t$ and check if it is equal to or smaller than $\alpha$. Adapt the $p$ value or $\alpha$ according to a multiple comparison procedure
For large samples, the table for standard normal probabilities can be used:
Two sided:
Right sided:
Left sided:
Approximate $C\%$ confidence interval for \mu_1 - \mu_2$$C\% confidence interval for \Psi, for \mu_g - \mu_h, and for \mu_in.a. (\bar{y}_1 - \bar{y}_2) \pm t^* \times \sqrt{\dfrac{s^2_1}{n_1} + \dfrac{s^2_2}{n_2}} where the critical value t^* is the value under the t_{k} distribution with the area C / 100 between -t^* and t^* (e.g. t^* = 2.086 for a 95% confidence interval when df = 20). The confidence interval for \mu_1 - \mu_2 can also be used as significance test. Confidence interval for \Psi (contrast): • c \pm t^* \times s_p\sqrt{\sum \dfrac{a^2_i}{n_i}} where the critical value t^* is the value under the t_{N - I} distribution with the area C / 100 between -t^* and t^* (e.g. t^* = 2.086 for a 95% confidence interval when df = 20). Note that n_i is the sample size of group i, and N is the total sample size, based on all the I groups. Confidence interval for \mu_g - \mu_h (multiple comparisons): • (\bar{y}_g - \bar{y}_h) \pm t^{**} \times s_p\sqrt{\dfrac{1}{n_g} + \dfrac{1}{n_h}} where t^{**} depends upon C, degrees of freedom (N - I), and the multiple comparison procedure. If you do not want to apply a multiple comparison procedure, t^{**} = t^* = the value under the t_{N - I} distribution with the area C / 100 between -t^* and t^*. Note that n_g is the sample size of group g, n_h is the sample size of group h, and N is the total sample size, based on all the I groups. Confidence interval for single population mean \mu_i: • \bar{y}_i \pm t^* \times \dfrac{s_p}{\sqrt{n_i}} where \bar{y}_i is the sample mean in group i, n_i is the sample size of group i, and the critical value t^* is the value under the t_{N - I} distribution with the area C / 100 between -t^* and t^* (e.g. t^* = 2.086 for a 95% confidence interval when df = 20). Note that n_i is the sample size of group i, and N is the total sample size, based on all the I groups. - n.a.Effect sizen.a. - • Proportion variance explained \eta^2 and R^2: Proportion variance of the dependent variable y explained by the independent variable:$$ \begin{align} \eta^2 = R^2 &= \dfrac{\mbox{sum of squares between}}{\mbox{sum of squares total}} \end{align} $$Only in one way ANOVA \eta^2 = R^2. \eta^2 (and R^2) is the proportion variance explained in the sample. It is a positively biased estimate of the proportion variance explained in the population. • Proportion variance explained \omega^2: Corrects for the positive bias in \eta^2 and is equal to:$$\omega^2 = \frac{\mbox{sum of squares between} - \mbox{df between} \times \mbox{mean square error}}{\mbox{sum of squares total} + \mbox{mean square error}}$$\omega^2 is a better estimate of the explained variance in the population than \eta^2. • Cohen's d: Standardized difference between the mean in group g and in group h:$$d_{g,h} = \frac{\bar{y}_g - \bar{y}_h}{s_p}$Cohen's$d$indicates how many standard deviations$s_p$two sample means are removed from each other. - Visual representationn.a.n.a. -- n.a.ANOVA tablen.a. - Click the link for a step by step explanation of how to compute the sum of squares. - n.a.Equivalent toEquivalent to -OLS regression with one categorical independent variable transformed into$I - 1$code variables: •$F$test ANOVA is equivalent to$F$test regression model •$t$test for contrast$i$is equivalent to$t$test for regression coefficient$\beta_i$(specific contrast tested depends on how the code variables are defined) If there are no ties in the data, the two sided Mann-Whitney-Wilcoxon test is equivalent to the Kruskal-Wallis test with an independent variable with 2 levels ($I\$ = 2).
Example contextExample contextExample context
Is the average mental health score different between men and women?Is the average mental health score different between people from a low, moderate, and high economic class?Do men tend to score higher on social economic status than women?
SPSSSPSSSPSS
Analyze > Compare Means > Independent-Samples T Test...
• Put your dependent (quantitative) variable in the box below Test Variable(s) and your independent (grouping) variable in the box below Grouping Variable
• Click on the Define Groups... button. If you can't click on it, first click on the grouping variable so its background turns yellow
• Fill in the value you have used to indicate your first group in the box next to Group 1, and the value you have used to indicate your second group in the box next to Group 2
• Continue and click OK
Analyze > Compare Means > One-Way ANOVA...
• Put your dependent (quantitative) variable in the box below Dependent List and your independent (grouping) variable in the box below Factor
or
Analyze > General Linear Model > Univariate...
• Put your dependent (quantitative) variable in the box below Dependent Variable and your independent (grouping) variable in the box below Fixed Factor(s)
Analyze > Nonparametric Tests > Legacy Dialogs > 2 Independent Samples...
• Put your dependent variable in the box below Test Variable List and your independent (grouping) variable in the box below Grouping Variable
• Click on the Define Groups... button. If you can't click on it, first click on the grouping variable so its background turns yellow
• Fill in the value you have used to indicate your first group in the box next to Group 1, and the value you have used to indicate your second group in the box next to Group 2
• Continue and click OK
JamoviJamoviJamovi
T-Tests > Independent Samples T-Test
• Put your dependent (quantitative) variable in the box below Dependent Variables and your independent (grouping) variable in the box below Grouping Variable
• Under Tests, select Welch's
• Under Hypothesis, select your alternative hypothesis
ANOVA > ANOVA
• Put your dependent (quantitative) variable in the box below Dependent Variable and your independent (grouping) variable in the box below Fixed Factors
T-Tests > Independent Samples T-Test
• Put your dependent variable in the box below Dependent Variables and your independent (grouping) variable in the box below Grouping Variable
• Under Tests, select Mann-Whitney U
• Under Hypothesis, select your alternative hypothesis
Practice questionsPractice questionsPractice questions