Objective: The present study examined the extent to which the covariance structure of the WAIS-IV is best accounted for by models that assume that test performance is the result of group-level factors and multiple independent general factors.
Method: Structural models with one to four general factors were evaluated with either four or five group-level factors. Simulations based on four general factors were run to clarify the adequacy of the estimates of the allocation of covariance by the models.
Results: Four independent general factors provided better fit than a single general factor for either model with four or five group-level factors. While one of the general factors had much larger loadings than all other factors, simulation results suggested that this might be an artifact of the statistical procedure rather than a reflection of the nature of individual differences in cognitive abilities.
Conclusions: These results argue against the contention that clinical interpretation of cognitive test batteries should primarily be at the level of general intelligence. It is a fallacy to assume that factor analysis can reveal the structure of human abilities. Test validity should not be based solely on the results of modeling the covariance of test batteries.
Keywords: Multidimensional models; WAIS-IV; cross-validation; human cognitive abilities.