Screening for partial conjunction hypotheses

Biometrics. 2008 Dec;64(4):1215-22. doi: 10.1111/j.1541-0420.2007.00984.x. Epub 2008 Feb 6.


We consider the problem of testing for partial conjunction of hypothesis, which argues that at least u out of n tested hypotheses are false. It offers an in-between approach to the testing of the conjunction of null hypotheses against the alternative that at least one is not, and the testing of the disjunction of null hypotheses against the alternative that all hypotheses are not null. We suggest powerful test statistics for testing such a partial conjunction hypothesis that are valid under dependence between the test statistics as well as under independence. We then address the problem of testing many partial conjunction hypotheses simultaneously using the false discovery rate (FDR) approach. We prove that if the FDR controlling procedure in Benjamini and Hochberg (1995, Journal of the Royal Statistical Society, Series B 57, 289-300) is used for this purpose the FDR is controlled under various dependency structures. Moreover, we can screen at all levels simultaneously in order to display the findings on a superimposed map and still control an appropriate FDR measure. We apply the method to examples from microarray analysis and functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), two application areas where the need for partial conjunction analysis has been identified.

MeSH terms

  • Data Interpretation, Statistical*
  • Humans
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Oligonucleotide Array Sequence Analysis