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Chapter 49: Latent Variable Models
When one is conducting an empirical study, one first looks at measurable variables, at directly observable phenomena. However, the relationships that can be explored among them are far from being as linear and simple as may first appear. Actually, quite often one can find some delicate causal relationships that cannot be handled with fair hands. Instead, we need very precise tools to uncover what is hidden. For simplicity, let this concealed cause–effect relationship be defined as latent variables. Attitudes, personality, intelligence or interaction among genes are good examples of latent or unobservable constructs. Interestingly enough, these relationships can be mathematically defined, which allows one to take intelligent conclusions about the unseen constructs.
Latent analysis (LA) was first used during World War II ...