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ERIC Number: EJ933821
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2011-Mar
Pages: 17
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: ISSN-1082-989X
Evaluating Mixture Modeling for Clustering: Recommendations and Cautions
Steinley, Douglas; Brusco, Michael J.
Psychological Methods, v16 n1 p63-79 Mar 2011
This article provides a large-scale investigation into several of the properties of mixture-model clustering techniques (also referred to as latent class cluster analysis, latent profile analysis, model-based clustering, probabilistic clustering, Bayesian classification, unsupervised learning, and finite mixture models; see Vermunt & Magdison, 2002). Focus is given to the multivariate normal distribution, and 9 separate decompositions (i.e., class structures) of the covariance matrix are investigated. To provide a link to the current literature, comparisons are made with K-means clustering in 3 detailed Monte Carlo studies. The findings have implications for applied researchers in that mixture-model clustering techniques performed best when the covariance structure and number of clusters were known. However, as the information about the shape and number of clusters became unknown, degraded performance was observed for both K-means clustering and mixture-model clustering. (Contains 5 figures, 5 tables and 8 footnotes.)
American Psychological Association. Journals Department, 750 First Street NE, Washington, DC 20002-4242. Tel: 800-374-2721; Tel: 202-336-5510; Fax: 202-336-5502; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A