[R-sig-ME] lmer: ML and REML estimation

Brant Inman brant.inman at me.com
Wed Mar 25 03:10:21 CET 2009


I am writing a paper using the results that I obtained this week with  
lmer (thanks Doug Bates).  I wanted to clarify one technical point  
about lmer to make sure that I understand its mechanics correctly when  
reporting my statistical methods in the paper.

I used lmer to fit several multilevel logistic regression models.  The  
help page for lmer states that these binomial models are estimated  
with maximum likelihood (ML) methods.  My high-level reading on linear  
mixed effects models has suggested that REML estimates are better than  
ML estimates, I wondered whether non-linear likelihoods, like those of  
the binomial models that I have used, can be estimated with REML  
methods or not.  If this question is obviously stupid, keep in mind  
that I am just a dumb surgeon, not a statistician.

Brant Inman

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