In intelligence research, personality research and other research fields of psychology, factor analytic models are used to structurize the variables' jungle.
For example: To simplify the variable structure of a personality questionnaire several questions (items), that are supposed to measure the same construct are grouped to one (latent) factor (e.g. extraversion).
But does this group of items really measure extraversion? Maybe some of the items "load" on a different factor. And Maybe other aspects of the model have flaws as well...
How well a factor model fits the data can be examined by a confirmatory factor analysis.
Confirmatory Factor Analysis - Factor Analysis - Psychology - Statistics - Research Methods - Personality Psychology - Extraversion - Conscientiousness - Openness - Neuroticism - Agreeableness - Five Factor Model - Big Five - Intelligence - Carroll