The psychometric and classification literatures have illustrated the fact that a wide class of discrete or network models (e.g., hierarchical or ultrametric trees) for the analysis of ordinal proximity data are plagued by potential degenerate solutions if estimated using traditional nonmetric procedures (i.e., procedures which optimize a STRESS-based criteria of fit and whose solutions are invariant under a monotone transformation of the input data). This paper proposes a new parametric, maximum likelihood based procedure for estimating ultrametric trees for the analysis of conditional rank order proximity data. We present the technical aspects of the model and the estimation algorithm. Some preliminary Monte Carlo results are discussed. A consumer psychology application is provided examining the similarity of fifteen types of snack/breakfast items. Finally, some directions for future research are provided
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