Multiple comparisons in induction algorithms

David D. Jensen, Paul R. Cohen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

134 Scopus citations


A single mechanism is responsible for three pathologies of induction algorithms: attribute selection errors, overfitting, and oversearching. In each pathology, induction algorithms compare multiple items based on scores from an evaluation function and select the item with the maximum score. We call this a multiple comparison procedure (MCP). We analyze the statistical properties of MCPs and show how failure to adjust for these properties leads to the pathologies. We also discuss approaches that can control pathological behavior, including Bonferroni adjustment, randomization testing, and cross-validation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)309-338
Number of pages30
JournalMachine Learning
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2000
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Software
  • Artificial Intelligence


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