Bayesian Gaussian distributional regression models for more efficient norm estimation

Lieke Voncken*, Thomas Kneib, Casper J. Albers, Nikolaus Umlauf, Marieke E. Timmerman

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)
104 Downloads (Pure)


A test score on a psychological test is usually expressed as a normed score, representing its position relative to test scores in a reference population. These typically depend on predictor(s) such as age. The test score distribution conditional on predictors is estimated using regression, which may need large normative samples to estimate the relationships between the predictor(s) and the distribution characteristics properly. In this study, we examine to what extent this burden can be alleviated by using prior information in the estimation of new norms with Bayesian Gaussian distributional regression. In a simulation study, we investigate to what extent this norm estimation is more efficient and how robust it is to prior model deviations. We varied the prior type, prior misspecification and sample size. In our simulated conditions, using a fixed effects prior resulted in more efficient norm estimation than a weakly informative prior as long as the prior misspecification was not age dependent. With the proposed method and reasonable prior information, the same norm precision can be achieved with a smaller normative sample, at least in empirical problems similar to our simulated conditions. This may help test developers to achieve cost‐efficient high‐quality norms. The method is illustrated using empirical normative data from the IDS‐2 intelligence test.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)99-117
JournalBritish Journal of Mathematical and Statistical Psychology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2021


  • continuous test norming
  • norming efficiency
  • psychological tests
  • robustness


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