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Multivariate Methods > Latent Class Analysis > Overview of the Latent Class Analysis Platform
Publication date: 11/10/2021

Overview of the Latent Class Analysis Platform

The Latent Class Analysis platform fits a latent class model to categorical response variables and determines the most likely cluster or latent class for each observation. A latent variable is an unobservable grouping variable. Each level of the latent variable is called a latent class. For example, latent classes could be clusters of survey respondents that are grouped by their preference for risk.

The model takes the form of a multinomial mixture model. There are two sets of parameters in the model: the γ parameters and the ρ parameters. The γ parameters represent the overall probabilities of cluster membership. The ρ parameters represent the probabilities of observing a given response conditional on cluster membership. A latent class is characterized by a pattern of these conditional probabilities.

In order for the analysis results to be meaningful, a subject matter expert must interpret the clusters that the platform generates. This subject matter expert examines characteristics of the latent classes and constructs a definition for each class based on those characteristics.

Note: Rows with missing values in any of the response columns are excluded from the analysis.

For more information about latent class models, see Collins and Lanza (2010) and Goodman (1974).

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