# 8 - Factor Analytic Trait Theories Flashcards

Why are factor analytic trait theories the dominant view?

- not because it is better at predicting behaviour

- but because of easy quantification and ancestry (familiarity, history)

What is factor analysis?

- factor analytic theories are based on a mathematical technique called factor analysis
- in general, factor analysis identifies patterns of intercorrelated variables, and models how such patterns could be accounted for by hypothesizing a small number of factors underlying and contributing to the correlated variables

What is the process for factor analysis?

- there are more than 15 000 words that describe positions on trait dimensions
- people are asked where they would place themselves on a scale for a set number of trait dimensions
- then, look at the correlation between the trait dimensions
- conduct factor analysis to analyze why the values of particular variables are related so closely to each other

What are factors?

- an explanation for a correlation is that there is a common underlying characteristic or factor
- each factor is described mathematically as an equation
- the equation estimates the extent to which the hypothesized factor is reflected in the value of each intercorrelated variable
- these are the factor loadings
- the higher the loading for each variable, the more its value is determined by the underlying factor

What is the difference between orthogonal and non-orthogonal factors?

- orthogonal = occurs when the set of variables making up one factor are completely different from the set of variables making up the other factor
- non-orthogonal = occurs when one factor includes some of the same variables as the other factor; leads to an increased number of factors

How do you name a factor?

- a factor analysis does not tell us what the underlying factors are, or how we should name and describe them
- usually, a factor is given a name based on the sorts of variables it influences
- people can differ in terms of the names they give to certain factors

What does factor analysis do?

- does not find “real” things = factors are hypothetical constructs
- does not identify factors
- not necessarily traits = originally used for components of intelligence
- results depend on measures
- results depend on parameters = orthogonal vs non-orthogonal

non-orthogonal, exploratory vs. confirmatory factor analysis

What makes a factor basic?

- reliable = stable over time and observers
- used by both theorists and laypersons
- appear across cultures (lexical hypothesis) = if people find something is important, they will develop a word for it
- must have some biological basis

What is Cattell’s 16 PF?

- non-orthogonal factors

- unusual names that were later changed = affectia, premsia, surgency, tensidia

What is the Big Five?

- dominant view in factor analysis
- there are five dimensions in the Big Five
- the dimension itself is not a trait

What are the dimensions in the Big Five?

- dimension 1 = extroversion - introversion
- dimension 2 = agreeableness
- dimension 3 = conscientiousness - will
- dimension 4 = neuroticism - ego stability
- dimension 5 = intellect/openness

How doe the Big Five factors change with age?

- increase in social dominance (extroversion) between 20 and 40
- increase in conscientiousness between 20 and 40
- increase in emotional stability (neuroticism) between 20 and 40
- increase in social vitality (extroversion) in adolescence, down in old age
- increase in openness in adolescence, down in old age
- increase in agreeableness in old age

Why do changes in the Big Five occur?

- cultural factors
- Europeans and Americans have higher extraversion, higher openness, and lower agreeableness
- selected migration with genes for increased entroversion
- increased population area increases agreeableness
- different genes are active in different parts of life

What are Zuckerman and Kuhlman’s Alternative Five?

- sociability
- neuroticism/anxiety
- impulsive sensation seeking
- aggression/hostility
- activity

What is Zuckerman’s biological model?

- attempted to tie together higher-level personality constructs (traits and factors) with cognitive/behavioural tendencies, emotions, and underlying physicochemical system
- he focuses on the possible role of major neurotransmitters (dopamine, serotonin, epinephrine and norepinephrine)

How does low blood platelet MAO relate to the Alternate Five?

Low blood platelet MAO is positively associated with

- impulsive sensation-seeking
- sociability
- aggression-hostility

Low blood platelet MAO is correlated with

- chronic marijuana use
- chronic schizophrenia
- adults with borderline, antisocial PD
- children with ADHD, conduct disorder

How does Eysenck’s model compare to Zuckerman’s model?

Eysenck

- single optimal level of arousal
- extroverts are below the optimal level
- introverts are above the optimal level

Zuckerman

- two levels of optimal chemical arousal (low levels of MAO, high levels of activity)
- optimal arousal level for extroverts is higher than that of introverts
- extroverts are below their optimal level, and introverts are above their optimal level

How does factor 1 compare across the three theories?

- extroversion

- same across Big Five, Eysenck, and Alt 5

How does factor 2 compare across the three theories?

- agreeableness
- no equivalent in Eysenck
- negatively correlated with Alt 5’s aggression

How does factor 3 compare across the three theories?

- conscientiousness
- negatively correlated with Eysenck’s psychoticism
- negatively correlated with Alt 5’s sensation-seeking

How does factor 4 compare across the three theories?

- neuroticism

- same across Big Five, Eysenck, and Alt 5

How does factor 5 compare across the three theories?

- intellect/openness
- no equivalent in Eysenck
- positively correlated with Alt 5’s activity