A comparison of simple structure rotation criteria in temporal exploratory factor analysis for event-related potential data
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Description: It is challenging to apply exploratory factor analysis (EFA) to event-related potential (ERP) data because such data are characterized by substantial temporal overlap (i.e., large cross-loadings) between the factors, and, because researchers are typically interested in the results of subsequent analyses (e.g., experimental condition effects on the level of the factor scores). In this context, relatively small deviations in the estimated factor solution from the unknown ground truth may result in substantially biased estimates of condition effects (rotation bias). Thus, in order to apply EFA to ERP data researchers need rotation methods that are able to both recover perfect simple structure where it exists and to tolerate substantial cross-loadings between the factors where appropriate. We had two aims in the present paper. First, to extend previous research, we wanted to better understand the behavior of the rotation bias for typical ERP data. To this end, we compared the performance of a variety of factor rotation methods under conditions of varying amounts of temporal overlap between the factors. Second, we wanted to investigate whether the recently proposed component loss rotation is better able to decrease the bias than traditional simple structure rotation. The results showed that no single rotation method was generally superior across all conditions. Component loss rotation showed the best all-round performance across the investigated conditions. We conclude that Component loss rotation is a suitable alternative to simple structure rotation. We discuss this result in the light of recently proposed sparse factor analysis approaches.