[R] How to run interaction between to categoric variables in lme()?

Dieter Menne dieter.menne at menne-biomed.de
Wed Jan 30 16:13:03 CET 2008

Falco tinnunculus <kestrel78 <at> gmail.com> writes:

> How do I run interaction between to categoric variables in lme()?
> I tried this:
> > lmefit1<- lme(Handling ~Mass+factor(Prey)+factor (Decap)+
> factor(Prey)*factor(Decap), random = ~ 1 |Place, data=nestling1)
> Error in MEEM(object, conLin, control$niterEM) :
> Singularity in backsolve at level 0, block 1

First, I would suggest that you make Prey, Decap factors in your data frame.
Makes for a much easier reading, and fewer errors if you test

nestling1$Prey = as.factor(nestling1$Prey)
nestling1$Decap = as.factor(nestling1$Decap)
lmefit1<- lme(Handling ~Mass+Decap*Prey, random = ~ 1 |Place, data=nestling1)

You should not write 


I you want to do it explicitly, used the colon instead


or, let lme do the dirty (i.e. in most cases correct) work:


which will expand to what you need. If you still get the error message, it's
your data: you want to much from them. Check if you have enough degrees of
freedom left, or if the data set is degenerate by not including a sufficient
number of pairing.


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