Modeling Individual Subtests of the WAIS IV with Multiple Latent Factors.

TitleModeling Individual Subtests of the WAIS IV with Multiple Latent Factors.
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2013
AuthorsMcFarland, DJ
JournalPloS one
Date Published09/2013

Performance on a cognitive test can be viewed either as measuring a unitary function or as reflecting the operation of multiple factors. Individual subtests in batteries designed to measure human abilities are commonly modeled as a single latent factor. Several latent factors are then used to model groups of subtests. However these latent factors are not independent as they are related through hierarchical or oblique structures. As a result, the simple structure of subtest performance results in complex latent factors. The present study used structural equation modeling to evaluate several multidimensional models of the Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scales- fourth edition (WAIS-IV) subtests. Multidimensional models of subtest performance provided better model fit as compared to several previously proposed one dimensional models. These multidimensional models also generalized well to new samples of populations differing in age from that used to estimate the model parameters. Overall these results show that models that describe subtests as multidimensional functions of uncorrelated factors provided a better fit to the WAIS-IV correlations than models that describe subtests as one dimensional functions of correlated factors. There appears to be a trade-off in modeling subtests as one dimensional and modeling with homogeneous latent traits. More consideration should be given to models that include multiple uncorrelated latent factors as determinants of the performance on a given subtest. These results support the view that performance on any given cognitive test is potentially the result of multiple factors. Simple structure may be too simple.


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