What Is Factor Analysis In Psychology?

What Is Factor Analysis In Psychology?

This article will cover an important topic Factor Analysis in psychology which is crucial from the perspective of a psychology student. This concept has been developed by Charles Spearman who wanted to comprehend the complexities of human intelligence. 

Let us not waste more time and get to the point. 

What Is Factor Analysis In Psychology?

If you don’t know what is Factor Analysis in personality in Psychology, then let me tell you that it is a statistical technique that can be used for the purpose of summarizing the data to find and understand the relations and patterns of an individual’s personality.  

The individuals are surrounded by numerous traits and among those traits, similar traits are cubed or placed together. 

Also, check out our article Explain Neo Behaviorism In Psychology

Who Used Factor Analysis Psychology?

Charles Spearman was the person who developed the Factor Analysis technique in psychology so as to understand the complex nature of human intelligence and interpret it. The method was formed to evaluate relationships from within a set of variables that are observed in an individual. 

Types Of Factor Analysis In Psychology

There are basically two types of factor analysis in psychology, one is Exploratory and the other is Confirmatory. 

Exploratory Factor Analysis 

This is the method that can be used for exploring the underlying structure of the observed variables.

Confirmatory Factor Analysis 

This method is used for verifying the factor structure. This structure has already been defined and the analysis is only done for its verification. 

List Of Factors Used In Factor Analysis In Psychology

Factor A – Warmth

Coziness, hearty, strong interaction, intimacy, enjoyment

High score – extraversion, socially gathered

Low score – reserved, introverted, cautious, solitude (not loving social gatherings)

Factor B – Reasoning Ability

It is the intellectual ability of the subject. Every psychologist took the different terms to their own different meanings and this in short described/divided intelligence. These categories are:

1. Fluid – inherent abilities, inborn(innate), which are inherited through blood. It keeps increasing till the age of 18 years and then starts deteriorating. It can be tested by checking how much vocabulary a person uses. 

2. Crystalline – accumulated knowledge, it is learned through cultural and formal education. It either remains steady or keeps increasing.

The “Culture Fair Test Of Intelligence”, the test that can measure every culture, is used to analyze and measure the fluid or crystalline intelligence of an individual. 

Factor C – Emotional Stability

Low – Stress prone, doesn’t cope easily, inability to face challenges, weak coping mechanisms, addicts, juvenile dilutes. 

High – Risk takers, adaptive behavior, finding solutions to every problem, showing a go-to behavior in any situation.

Factor E – Dominance

Low – these people won’t project, they won’t put their responsibility on others, supportive, cooperative, agreeable, and acceptable.

High – egoistic, giving more priority to their own wishes and demands, non-cooperative, vocal.

Extremely high – stubborn, overpowering, argumentative, aggressive. 

A point to note, females also have Testosterone but only in a small amount. However, there are some cases when the testosterone level in females is high and it leads to more violent and aggressive behavior. 

Factor G – Rule Consciousness

Based on norms. 

Low – don’t abide by rules, take self-decisions, unconventional, do not go with tradition

High – Disciplined, follow rules, inflexible, conform to standards, does not take self-based decisions. 

Extremely high – too moralistic, do not see what is right or wrong, highly inflexible.

Factor H – Boldness (social)

The ability to act boldly socially. 

Low – low confidence, shy, stressed, fearful of social situation

High – fearless, bold, confident

Factor I – Sensitivity

Being touchy, the ability to feel others’ emotions

Low – tough-minded, unemotional

High – soft-hearted, tender-minded, refined, empathetic (which is the main trait of a counselor)

Extremely high – highly emotional, impractical, overprotective, more indulgent.

Factor L – Vigilance

To keep guard, eye on the others

Low – want fair treatment, trustworthy, quite inattentive. 

High – attentive, suspicious, distrustful of others

Extremely low – no self-control, exploit themselves.

Factor M – Abstractness

Based upon the principle that perspective is subjective. 

Low – less imaginative, creative, concrete

Extremely low – can’t even differentiate trees and forests

High – creative, imaginative, sensitive, divergent thinking, find a lot of solutions even to a single problem

Extremely high – Daydreamers, impractical, absentminded

Factor N – Privateness

Low – open, willing to share feelings, genuine, open-minded, unguarded, not calculative

Extremely low – not tactful

High – Tactful, know when to speak and what to speak, insightful, diplomatic

Extremely high – secretive, overprotective, overcompetitive

Factor O – Apprehension

Thinking on their own, often leading to overthinking

Low – relaxed, self-confident, resilient, tough, can’t be shaken in any situation

High – anxious, guilt-prone, can even lead to pathological disease

Factor Q1 – Openness To Change

Low – adhere to traditional ways of living, do not modify, stick to old tradition and values, no attempt to change

High – Posting, adjustable, create situations, value change, accept authority, experimental, break the monotony 

Factor Q2 – Self-Reliance

Low – Dependent, cooperative, prefers being around people and working in groups, high team spirit

Extremely low – completely dependent on others

High – enjoy being alone, own decisions, rely on their own thinking, self-work and they work only for their self-satisfaction, are confident, don’t like working in groups, access/evaluate everything. 

Factor Q3 – Perfectionism

Low – disorganized, no planning, indisciplined, low esteemed

High – errorless, and due to this their work never gets completed in time, though they want punctuality it is not because they also want perfection, they never accept, compulsive, orderly, organized, observative, or pathological.

Those with high Factor Q3 can also be diagnosed with OCD – Obsessive Compulsive Disorder where the individual is habitual to repetitive actions. 

Factor Q4 – Tension

Low – easygoing, relaxed, laid back, no frustration, not impatient, unmotivated

High – frustrated, impulsive, impatient, motivated, and anxious at times. 

When To Use Factor Analysis In Psychology?

Since there are two types of Factor Analysis, the need for their use varies accordingly. For instance, when you are intending to develop a hypothesis about a relationship between the observed variables, then you will use Exploratory Factor Analysis. 

Alternatively, if you want to test the hypothesis that you have developed regarding the relationship between the variables, in that case, you will use the Confirmatory Factor Analysis. 

Why Do Psychologists Use Factor Analysis?

Since there are a number of specific traits in humans, to reduce them into a few general factors, the Factor Analysis technique is used. 

What Is Sternberg’s Triarchic Theory Of Intelligence?

The Triarchic Theory of Intelligence by Sternberg states that intelligence is a result of the components that process information which is applied to experiences for adapting to the environments, shaping the environments, and selecting the environments. 

Final Words

That was all that is necessary to grasp the concept of Factor Analysis in psychology. Tell us in the comments if you found this content useful and also suggest more topics to write on. Till then, you can check out our other articles: Insightful Learning In Psychology – Characteristics And Advantages Of Insightful Learning, Attention, And Perception In Psychology

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