Notes on Technology and the Moral Order

By Alvin W. Gouldner; Richard A. Peterson | Go to book overview

CHAPTER 2
Four Dimensions of Primitive Society

For readers unfamiliar with factor analysis, a few elementary indications of how to "read" the tables that follow may be in order. Note that the "loadings" on some traits in a factor are larger than others. The loading is the correlation of a particular trait with the factor presumably underlying the cluster of traits presented in the table. Items with higher loadings are more indicative of the underlying factor than those with lower loadings. If a trait had a loading of, say, .99 or 1.00, it would be a near-perfect or perfect measure of the underlying factor. All traits are loaded in some degree on all factors, even if in extreme cases their loading is or approximates .00.

Note, also, that some loadings are positive and some negative. Whenever the sign of a loading is not given, the trait is positively loaded. When a factor has traits which are highly loaded, both positively and negatively, we may call it a bipolar factor. The extreme sides of a bipolar factor are contraries or opposites. Not all factors, however, need be bipolar. For example, psychometrists commonly hold that "intelligence" factors can only be unipolar in that the signs on all the constituent scales must all be positive, even if some are very low. Stated differently, there is, presumably, nothing like "anti-intelligence"; one can only have a relatively high or low intelligence. In general, a low loading does not indicate the opposite of a high loading of the same sign; it only indicates less of a correlation between that trait and the underlying factor than a higher loading.

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