Factor rotation

Rotations minimize the complexity of the factor loadings to make the structure simpler to interpret.

Factor loading matrices are not unique, for any solution involving two or more factors there are an infinite number of orientations of the factors that explain the original data equally well. Rotation of the factor loading matrices attempts to give a solution with the best simple structure.

There are two types of rotation:
  • Orthogonal rotations constrain the factors to be uncorrelated. Although often favored, in many cases it is unrealistic to expect the factors to be uncorrelated, and forcing them to be uncorrelated makes it less likely that the rotation produces a solution with a simple structure.
  • Oblique rotations permit the factors to be correlated with one another. Often produces solutions with a simpler structure.
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