Publication date: 04/12/2021

The principle of effect heredity relates to the inclusion in the model of lower-order components of higher-order effects. The motivation for this principle is observational evidence that factors with small main effects tend not to have significant interaction effects.

Strong effect heredity requires that all lower-order components of a model effect be included in the model. Suppose that a three-way interaction (ABC) is in the model. Then all of its component main effects and two-way interactions (A, B, C, AB, AC, BC) must also be in the model.

Weak effect heredity requires that only a sequence of lower-order components of a model effect be included. If a three-way interaction is in the model, then the model must contain one of the factors involved and one two-way interaction involving that factor. Suppose that the three-way interaction ABC is in the model. Then if B and BC are also in the model, the model satisfies weak effect heredity.

For continuous factors, effect heredity ensures that the model is invariant to changes in the location and scale of the factors.

The principle of effect sparsity asserts that most of the variation in the response is explained by a relatively small number of effects. Screening designs, where many effects are studied, rely heavily on effect sparsity. Experience shows that the number of runs used in a screening design should be at least twice the number of effects that are likely to be significant.

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