Observed Variable

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Path Diagrams, EFA, CFA, and Amos

(You should have read the EFA chapter in T&F and should read the CFA chapter.)

Observed Variable

A variable whose values are observable.

Examples: IQ Test scores (Scores are directly observable), GREV, GREQ, GREA, UGPA, Minnesota Job Satisfaction Scale, Affective Commitment Scale, Gender, Questionnaire items.

Latent Variable

A variable, i.e., characteristic, presumed to exist, but whose values are NOT observable. A Factor in Factor Analysis literature. A characteristic of people that is not directly observable.

Intelligence, Depression, Job Satisfaction, Affective Commitment, Tendency to display affective state
No direct observation of values of latent variables is possible. Brain states? Brain chemistry?
An observed variable whose values are assumed to be related to the values of a latent variable.

Reflective Indicator

An observed variable whose values are partially determined by, i.e., are influenced by or reflect, the values of a latent variable. For example, responses to Conscientiousness items are assumed to reflect a person’s Conscientiousness.

Formative Indicator

An observed variable whose values partially determine, i.e., cause or form, the values of a latent variable.

Exogenous Variable (Ex = Out)

A variable whose values originate from / are caused by influences outside the model, i.e., are not explained within the theory with which we’re working. That is, a variable whose variation we don’t attempt to explain or predict by whatever theory we’re working with. Causes of exogenous variable originate outside the model. Exogenous variables can be observed or latent.

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