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Some Contributions to Maximum Likelihood Factor Analysis

Joreskog, Karl G.
Publication Year:
Report Number:
ETS Research Bulletin
Document Type:
Page Count:
Subject/Key Words:
Swedish Council for Social Science Research, Factor Analysis, Heywood Cases, Maximum Likelihood Statistics


A new computational method for the maximum likelihood solution in factor analysis is presented. This method takes into account the fact that the likelihood function may not have a maximum in a point of the parameter space where all unique variances are positive. Instead, the maximum may be attained on the boundary of the parameter space where one or more of the unique variances are zero. It is demonstrated that such improper (Heywood) solutions occur more often than is usually expected. A general procedure to deal with such improper solutions is proposed. The proposed methods are illustrated using two small sets of empirical data, and results obtained from the analyses of many other sets of data are reported. These analyses verify that the new computational method converges rapidly and that the maximum likelihood solution can be determined very accurately.

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