# 4.8 - Special Cases: p = 2

4.8 - Special Cases: p = 2To further understand the shape of the multivariate normal distribution, let's return to the special case where we have *p* = 2 variables.

If \(ρ = 0\), there is zero correlation, and the eigenvalues turn out to be equal to the variances of the two variables. So, for example, the first eigenvalue would be equal to \(\sigma^2_1\) and the second eigenvalue would be equal to \(\sigma^2_2\) as shown below:

\(\lambda_1 = \sigma^2_1\) and \(\lambda_2 = \sigma^2_2\)

the corresponding eigenvectors will have elements 1 and 0 for the first eigenvalue and 0 and 1 for the second eigenvalue.

\(\mathbf{e}_1 = \left(\begin{array}{c} 1\\ 0\end{array}\right)\), \(\mathbf{e}_2 = \left(\begin{array}{c} 0\\ 1\end{array}\right)\)

So, the axis of the ellipse, in this case, is parallel to the coordinate axis.

If there is zero correlation, and the variances are equal so that \(\sigma^2_1\) = \(\sigma^2_2\), then the eigenvalues will be equal to one another, and instead of an ellipse we will get a circle. In this special case, we have a so-called circular normal distribution.

If the correlation is greater than zero, then the longer axis of the ellipse will have a positive slope.

Conversely, if the correlation is less than zero, then the longer axis of the ellipse will have a negative slope.

As the correlation approaches plus or minus 1, the larger eigenvalue will approach the sum of the two variances, and the smaller eigenvalue will approach zero:

\(\lambda_1 \rightarrow \sigma^2_1 +\sigma^2_2\) and \(\lambda_2 \rightarrow 0\)

So, what is going to happen in this case is that the ellipse becomes more and more elongated as the correlation approaches one.

## Using Technology

The SAS program below can be used to plot the 95% confidence ellipse corresponding to any specified variance-covariance matrix.

Download the SAS program here: ellplot.sas

**Note**: In the upper right-hand corner of the code block you will have the option of copying (* *) the code to your clipboard or downloading (* *) the file to your computer.

```
options ls=78;
title "95% prediction ellipse";
data a; /*This data set defines the polar coordinates for plotting the prediction ellipse as a function of the angle theta. It stores the results in variables 'u' and 'v' that will be used below.*/
pi=2.d0*arsin(1);
do i=0 to 200;
theta=pi*i/100;
u=cos(theta);
v=sin(theta);
output;
end;
run;
proc iml; /*The iml procedure allows for many general calculations to be made. In this case*/
create b var{x y}; /*This defines a data set 'b' with two variables 'x' and 'y' that will be used in the calculations below.*/
start ellipse; /*This defines a SAS module named 'ellipse' that can be called to calculate the xy coordinates for ploting the prediction ellipse. The lines of code below are executed when 'ellipse' is called.*/
mu={0, /*This specifies the value of the bivariate mean vector (0, 0). This will be the center of the prediction ellipse.*/
0};
sigma={1.0000 0.5000, /*This specifies the values of the covariance matrix, which must be symmetric.*/
0.5000 2.0000};
lambda=eigval(sigma); /*The statements below calculate the xy coordinates for plotting the ellipse from the polar coordinates that are provided above.*/
e=eigvec(sigma);
d=diag(sqrt(lambda));
z=z*d*e`*sqrt(5.99);
do i=1 to nrow(z);
x=z[i,1];
y=z[i,2];
append;
end;
finish; /*This ends the module definition.*/
use a; /*This makes the polar coordinates defined in the data set 'a' available.*/
read all var{u v} into z; /*The polar coordinates are assigned to the vector z, which is used in the ellipse module.*/
run ellipse; /*This calls the ellipse module, which runs and populates the data set 'b' with the xy coordinates that will be used for plotting the prediction ellipse.*/
proc gplot; /*This plots the prediction ellipse from the coordinates in the data set 'b'.*/
axis1 order=-5 to 5 length=3 in; /*The axis statements set the limits of the plotting region.*/
axis2 order=-5 to 5 length=3 in;
plot y*x / vaxis=axis1 haxis=axis2 vref=0 href=0; /*These options specify the variables for plotting, which to put on which axis, and the vertical and horizontal reference lines.*/
symbol v=none l=1 i=join color=black; /*This option specifies that the points are to be joined in a continuous curve in black.*/
run;
```

* The bivariate confidence interval for this example cannot be generated using Minitab.*