Blog Archives

What Can We Learn from the Apps on Your Smartphone? Topic Modeling and Matrix Factorization

May 8, 2015
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What Can We Learn from the Apps on Your Smartphone? Topic Modeling and Matrix Factorization

The website for The Burning House begins with a simple question:If your house was burning, what would you take with you? It's a conflict between what's practical, valuable and sentimental. What you would take reflects your interests, background and pri...

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Clusters May Be Categorical but Cluster Membership Is Not All-or-None

May 4, 2015
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Clusters May Be Categorical but Cluster Membership Is Not All-or-None

Very early in the study of statistics and R, we learn that random variables can be either categorical or continuous. Regrettably, we are forced to relearn this distinction over and over again as we debug error messages produced by our code (e.g., ...

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Modeling the Latent Structure That Shapes Brand Learning

April 29, 2015
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Modeling the Latent Structure That Shapes Brand Learning

What is a brand? Metaphorically, the brand is the white sphere in the middle of this figure, that is, the ball surrounded by the radiating black cones. Of course, no ball has been drawn, just the conic thorns positioned so that we construct the sphere ...

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Conjoint Analysis and the Strange World of All Possible Feature Combinations

April 22, 2015
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Conjoint Analysis and the Strange World of All Possible Feature Combinations

The choice modeler looks over the adjacent display of cheeses and sees the joint marginal effects of the dimensions spanning the feature space: milk source, type, origin, moisture content, added mold or bacteria, aging, salting, packaging, price, and m...

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Recommending Recommender Systems When Preferences Are Not Driven By Simple Features

April 15, 2015
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Recommending Recommender Systems When Preferences Are Not Driven By Simple Features

Why does lifting out a slice make the pizza appear more appealing?We can begin our discussion with the ultimate feature bundle - pizza toppings. Technically, a menu would only need to list all the toppings and allow the customers to build their own piz...

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Modeling Categories with Breadth and Depth

April 10, 2015
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Modeling Categories with Breadth and Depth

Religion is a categorical variable with followers differentiated by their degree of devotion. Liberals and conservatives check their respective boxes when surveyed, although moderates from each group sometimes seem more alike than their more extreme co...

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What Consumers Learn Before Deciding to Buy: Representation Learning

March 20, 2015
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What Consumers Learn Before Deciding to Buy: Representation Learning

Features form the basis for much of our preference modeling. When asked to explain one's preferences, features are typically accepted as appropriate reasons: this job paid more, that candidate supports tax reform, or it was closer to home. We believe t...

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Brand and Product Category Representation: Precursors to Preference Construction

March 5, 2015
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Brand and Product Category Representation: Precursors to Preference Construction

Evidently, preference is contextual, or so The Hershey's Company claims in their advertising. I agree and will not repeat the argument made in a previous post on incorporating preference construction into the choice modeling process.Within the framewor...

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Wine for Breakfast: Consumption Occasion as the Unit of Analysis

January 26, 2015
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Wine for Breakfast: Consumption Occasion as the Unit of Analysis

If the thought of a nice Chianti with that breakfast croissant is not that appealing, then I have made by point: occasion shapes consumption. Our tastes have been fashioned by culture and shared practice. Yet, we often ignore the context and run our an...

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Some Applications of Item Response Theory in R

January 11, 2015
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Some Applications of Item Response Theory in R

The typical introduction to item response theory (IRT) positions the technique as a form of curve fitting. We believe that a latent continuous variable is responsible for the observed dichotomous or polytomous responses to a set of items (e.g., multipl...

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