Skip to main content

Thank you for visiting nature.com. You are using a browser version with limited support for CSS. To obtain the best experience, we recommend you use a more up to date browser (or turn off compatibility mode in Internet Explorer). In the meantime, to ensure continued support, we are displaying the site without styles and JavaScript.

Dissimilarity Analysis: a new Technique of Hierarchical Sub-division

Abstract

IN hierarchical classifications each sub-group may be formed from the splitting into two parts of a larger group, or alternatively from the union of two smaller groups. Both these procedures are repetitive, and in either case ‘false’ decisions (arising from the statistical variability of the data) made in the early stages of the analysis will distort its subsequent course. For this reason, divisive methods, which start with the whole sample, are in general safer than agglomerative methods. In the past, one attraction of agglomerative methods has been their flexibility; any two sub-groups could be considered for possible combination. With divisive methods, in all but the simplest cases some restriction is necessary on the possible subdivisions considered, since there are 2n−1 − 1 ways of dividing n individuals into two groups. One procedure1 is to consider only monothetic subdivisions, that is, those definable in terms of the possession or lack of a single attribute by the individuals concerned.

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution

Relevant articles

Open Access articles citing this article.

Access options

Buy article

Get time limited or full article access on ReadCube.

$32.00

All prices are NET prices.

References

  1. Williams, W. T., and Lance, G. N., Nature, 182, 1755 (1958).

    ADS  Article  Google Scholar 

  2. Cochran, G., and Hopkins, C. E., Biometrics, 17, 10 (1961).

    MathSciNet  Article  Google Scholar 

  3. Rescigno, A., and Maccaccaro, G. A., in Symposium on Information Theory (Butterworth, London, 1960).

    Google Scholar 

  4. Edwards, A. W. F., Fifth Intern. Biometric Conf., Cambridge (1963).

  5. Williams, W. T., Dale, M. B., and Macnaughton-Smith, P., Nature, 201, 426 (1964).

    ADS  Article  Google Scholar 

  6. Williams, W. T., and Lambert, J. M., J. Ecol., 48, 689 (1960).

    Article  Google Scholar 

Download references

Author information

Authors and Affiliations

Authors

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Cite this article

MACNAUGHTON-SMITH, P., WILLIAMS, W., DALE, M. et al. Dissimilarity Analysis: a new Technique of Hierarchical Sub-division. Nature 202, 1034–1035 (1964). https://doi.org/10.1038/2021034a0

Download citation

  • Issue Date:

  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1038/2021034a0

Further reading

Comments

By submitting a comment you agree to abide by our Terms and Community Guidelines. If you find something abusive or that does not comply with our terms or guidelines please flag it as inappropriate.

Search

Quick links

Nature Briefing

Sign up for the Nature Briefing newsletter — what matters in science, free to your inbox daily.

Get the most important science stories of the day, free in your inbox. Sign up for Nature Briefing