Metropolis sampling for the concussions data

Chapter 3.2.3: Metropolis sampling

Let \(Y_i\) be the number of concussions (aggregated over all teams and games) in season \(i\) (1=2012,…,4=2015). We model these counts as \[Y_i\sim\mbox{Poisson}(N\lambda_i) \mbox{ where } \lambda_i=\exp(\beta_1+i\beta_2),\] \(N\) is the number of games played per year and \(\lambda_i\) is the rate in year \(i\). To complete the Bayesian model, we specify uninformative priors \(\beta_1,\beta_2\sim\mbox{Normal}(0,\tau^2)\).

The log of the mean concussion rate is linear in time with \(\beta_2\) determining the slope. The objective is to determine if the concussion rate is increasing, i.e., \(\beta_2>0\).

Load the data

 Y <- c(171, 152, 123, 199)
 t <- 1:4
 n <- 4
 N <- 256


 # Create an empty matrix for the MCMC samples

  S                 <- 25000
  samples           <- matrix(NA,S,2)
  colnames(samples) <- c("beta1","beta2")
  fitted            <- matrix(0,S,4)

 # Initial values

  beta   <- c(log(mean(Y/N)),0)

 # priors: beta[j] ~ N(0,tau^2)

  tau    <- 10

 # candidate standard deviations

  can_sd <- rep(0.1,2)

Define the log posterior as a function

 log_post <- function(Y,N,t,beta,tau){
    mn    <- N*exp(beta[1]+beta[2]*t)
    like  <- sum(dpois(Y,mn,log=TRUE))
    prior <- sum(dnorm(beta,0,tau,log=TRUE))
    post  <- like + prior

Metropolis sampling

 for(s in 1:S){
   for(j in 1:2){
     can    <- beta
     can[j] <- rnorm(1,beta[j],can_sd[j])
     logR   <- log_post(Y,N,t,can,tau)-log_post(Y,N,t,beta,tau) 
       beta <- can
   samples[s,] <- beta
   fitted[s,]  <- N*exp(beta[1]+beta[2]*t)

Compute the acceptance rates and plot the samples

 # Acceptance rates
##     beta1     beta2 
## 0.4311772 0.1752070

plot of chunk plots


plot of chunk plots


plot of chunk plots

Summarize the fitted values for each year

The boxplots are the posterior distribution of the \(N\lambda_i=N\exp(\beta_1+i\beta_2)\), and the points are the observed counts. The linear trend doesn't fit particularly well.

         xlab="Year",ylab="Fitted values",names=2012:2015)

plot of chunk fit

 # Posterior probability that the slope is positive
## [1] 0.84052

There is some evidence that the rate is increasing, but it seems to be driven only by the last year.