Factor analytic strategy for personality construction


Factor analytic strategy

—Structured personality tests,  set of assumptions. (humans possess characteristics or traits that are stable, vary from individual to individual, and can be measured).

—to derive empirically the basic dimensions of personality.

—the statistical technique of factor analysis to determine the meaning of test items.

—Reduction of a number of variables, by combining two or more variables into a single factor.

—Ex. performance at running+ ball throwing ,+ batting + jumping +weight lifting =a single factor =general athletic ability.

—Identification of groups of inter-related variables, to see how they are related to each other.

—required several weeks or even months of tedious arithmetic operations on a hand calculator.

—history of the Factor Analytic Strategy

—1st effort -Guilford-Zimmerman Temperament Survey 1940s it survey reduces personality to 10 dimensions.

—Ex. sociability , emotional stability, objectivity, friendliness , thoughtfulness, personal relations) ,self-statements (y/n)as in the MMPI-2.

—Cattell’s Contribution

Øbegan with all the adjectives applicable to human beings.

ØAllport and Odbert (1936) reduced their list to 4504 “real” traits.

ØCattell then reduced to 171 items to 36 dimensions, called surface traits to 16 basic dimensions, called source traits

Problems with the Factor Analytic Strategy

—the subjective nature of naming factors.

—Important factors may be overlooked when the data are categorized solely on the basis of blind groupings by computers.

—If five items such as daring, outgoing, determined, excitable, and fearless load high on a factor, then what should one call this factor?

16 PF,




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