What is a multiple factor analysis

Louis Leon Thurstone - Louis Leon Thurstone

Louis Leon Thurstone (May 29, 1887 - September 30, 1955) was a US pioneer in the fields of psychometrics and psychophysics. He devised the measurement approach known as the Law of Comparative Judgment and is known for his contributions to factor analysis. In a general psychology survey published in 2002, Thurstone was ranked the 88th most cited psychologist of the 20th century, associated with John Garcia, James J. Gibson, David Rumelhart, Margaret Floy Washburn, and Robert S. Woodworth.

Background and story

Louis Leon Thurstone was born in Chicago, Illinois to Swedish immigrant parents. Thurstone originally received a Masters in Mechanical Engineering from Cornell University in 1912. Thurstone was offered a brief assistantship in Thomas Edison's laboratory. After two years as a lecturer in geometry and drawing at the University of Minnesota, he enrolled in 1914 as a PhD student in psychology at the University of Chicago (PhD, 1917). He later returned to the University of Chicago (1924–1952), where he taught and researched. In 1952 he founded the L. L. Thurstone Psychometric Laboratory at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Factor analysis and work on intelligence

Thurstone was responsible for the standardized mean and standard deviation of the IQ values ​​used today in contrast to the intelligence test system originally used by Alfred Binet. He is also known for developing the Thurstone scale.

. Thurstone's work in factor analysis led him to formulate an intelligence model that focused on "Primary Mental Abilities" (PMAs), which were independent group factors of intelligence that different individuals possessed to varying degrees. He rejected the notion of a singular general intelligence that flowed into the results of all psychometric tests and was expressed as mental age. In 1935, Thurstone, together with EL Thorndike and JP Guilford, founded the journal Psychometrika and also the Psychometric Society, which became the first president of the society in 1936. Thurstone's contributions to methods of factor analysis have proven valuable in establishing and reviewing later psychometric factor structures and the hierarchical intelligence models used in intelligence tests such as WAIS and the modern Stanford. Binet IQ test.

The seven primary mental skills in Thurstone's model were verbal comprehension, word flow, number function, spatial visualization, associative memory, speed of perception, and reasoning.

Contributions to the measurement

Despite his contributions to factor analysis, Thurstone (1959, p. 267) warned: "When a problem is so involved that no rational formulation is available, some quantification is still possible through the correlation coefficients of contingency and the like. Such statistical methods provide but an acknowledgment of the failure to streamline the problem and establish functions that underlie the data. We want to measure the separation between the two opinions about the attitudes continuum and we want to test the validity of the assumed continuum by its internal consistency ". Thurstone's approach to measurement has been called the Law of Comparative Judgment. He applied the approach to psychophysics and later to the measurement of psychological values. The so-called "law", which can be viewed as a measurement model, includes test persons who carry out a comparison between several pairs of stimuli with regard to the size of a property, an attribute or an attitude. Methods based on the measurement approach can be used to estimate such scale values.

Thurstone's law of comparative judgment has important connections with modern approaches to social and psychological measurement. In particular, the approach is conceptually closely related to the Rasch model (Andrich, 1978), although Thurstone typically used the normal distribution in applications of the law of comparative judgment, while the Rasch model is a simple logistic function. Thurstone expected an important epistemological measurement requirement, which was later formulated by Rasch, namely that relative scale positions must "transcend" the measured group; i.e. scale locations must be unchangeable (or independent of this) for the specific group of people that is relevant for comparisons between the stimuli. Thurstone (1929) also formulated what he called the additivity criterion for scale differences, a criterion that must be met in order to obtain interval measurements.

Awards and honors

Thurstone received numerous awards including: Best Article, American Psychological Association (1949); Centennial Award, Northwestern University (1951); Honorary doctorate, University of Gothenburg (1954). Thurstone was President of the American Psychological Association (1933) and first President of the American Psychometric Society (1936).

Selected Works

  • The Nature of Intelligence (London: Routledge. 1924)
  • The Impact of Movies on High School Children's Social Attitudes Ruth C. Peterson & LL Thurstone, MacMillan, 1932
  • Films and Children's Social Attitudes Ruth C. Peterson & LL Thurstone, MacMillan, 1933
  • The vectors of the mind. Address by the President to the American Psychological Association meeting in Chicago, September 1933 (Psychological Review, 41, 1–32, 1934)
  • The Vectors of Mind (Chicago, IL, USA: University of Chicago Press 1935))
  • Primary mental faculties (Chicago: University of Chicago Press. 1938)
  • Analysis of several factors (Chicago: University of Chicago Press. 1947)
  • The Basics of Statistics (MacMillan: Norwood Press. 1925)

See also



  • Martin, O (1997). "Psychological measurement by Binet after Thurstone, (1900-1930)". Revue de Synthèse (in French). 118 (4): 457-93. doi: 10.1007 / BF03181359. PMID 11625304.
  • Thurstone, LL (1987). "Psychophysical Analysis. By L. L. Thurstone, 1927" (PDF). The American Journal of Psychology. 100 (3-4): 587-609. doi: 10.2307 / 1422696. JSTOR 1422696. PMID 3322058.
  • Gulliksen, H (1968). "Louis Leon Thurstone, Experimental and Mathematical Psychologist". The American psychologist. 23 (11): 786-802. doi: 10.1037 / h0026696. PMID 4881041.
  • Wolfle, D (1956). "Louis Leon Thurstone, 1887-1955". The American Journal of Psychology. 69 (1): 131-4. PMID 13302517.
  • Horst, P (1955). "L. L. Thurstone and the Science of Human Behavior". Science. 122 (3183): 1259-60. doi: 10.1126 / science.122.3183.1259. PMID 13274085.
  • Andrich, D. (1978). "Relationships Between the Thurstone and Rasch Approaches to Object Scaling". Applied psychological measurement. 2 (3): 451-462. doi: 10.1177 / 014662167800200319. S2CID 120407672.
  • Thurstone, L. L. (1927). "A Law of Comparative Judgment". Psychological review. 34 (4): 278-286. doi: 10.1037 / h0070288.
  • Gordon, Kate; Smith, Thomas Vernor, ed. (1929). Essays in Philosophy: by 17 Doctors of Philosophy from the University of Chicago. Chicago: Open Court. OCLC 257229209.
  • Thurstone, L. L. (1974). The measurement of values. Psychological review. 61 . Chicago: The University of Chicago Press. Pp. 47-58. doi: 10.1037 / h0060035. ISBN 978-0-226-80114-8. OCLC 5723850. PMID 13134416.

External links