Trait-Map® Personality Assessment

Trait-Map® is inspired by mathematics. It is a multi-scale personality assessment featuring a unique forced-choice questionnaire, requiring only 15 minutes to create a detailed profile based on 25 primary traits. The outstanding speed and accuracy have been achieved by an innovative application of combinatorial optimization.

Trait-Map® measures 25 traits in the five dimensions of the "Big Five" and it offers a comprehensive range of reports: development reports, training reports, group reports, job-fit analysis, interview guide and more. You can watch an introduction of the key features (6 minutes):

  • Trait-Map® identifies strengths, ideal roles, and improvement opportunities.
  • Guides people in realizing their potential by providing direction and confidence in using their strengths.
  • Improves teamwork and collaboration, reduces conflicts, and accelerates team maturity.
  • Greatly improves the quality of interviews and selection decisions.


Personality is defined by Trait-Map® as “preferred or habitual tendencies in one's thinking, feeling, and behavior resulting from the unique composition of underlying traits.” By better understanding the personality tendencies of employees and candidates, organizations can better optimize job fit and employee development. Trait-Map® was born from a need to achieve that in a more efficient and accurate way, without over-simplifying or labeling people. Trait-Map® is a combination of "the greatest single breakthrough in personality psychology" – the Big Five – and the latest trends in questionnaire design. We welcome you to experience it for yourself. Please Contact Us for a free trial.

Trait-Map® incorporates the latest development concepts for today’s businesses & organizations. It has unique, cutting-edge features:

  • Mobile friendly: it can be used on all popular devices.
  • Fast and Accurate: Trait-Map® uses an innovative, forced-choice questionnaire format that takes only about 15 to 20 minutes to complete, yet you get a detailed personality profile consisting of 25 traits! The secret behind the speed and accuracy is a proprietary mathematical method (combinatorial optimization) used in the questionnaire design.
  • The personality model is based on the Big Five model, which is the most widely accepted personality framework since it was pioneered in the 1990s. The Big Five model also has been implemented in the questionnaire itself in a unique way (five items per block, each belonging to a different dimension of the Big Five, must be ranked).
  • It measures 25 work-related personality tendencies (5 traits in each one of the Big Five dimensions) like Confidence, Assertiveness, Activity, Cooperation, Competitiveness, Dutifulness, Creativity, and Empathy… to name just a few.
  • It motivates for continuous development instead of labeling people as "Red", "Blue" or "Tiger" or "Owl" or some letter combinations as in many other systems.
  • There is a wide range of available reports: Profile, Narrative Report, Team Role Report, Conflict Style, and Leadership Style reports.
  • It is originally based on the International Personality Item Pool and was developed by a multi-cultural team over 15 years; it is strong in “cross-cultural” deployment.

Reports are insightful and easy to understand:

You can download the Trait-Map® Brochure, or Contact Us for a sample report if you are interested in using it in your work.

We welcome you to learn more about Trait-Map with Gabor Nagy, Head of Product and Marketing, with this video lecture. This video contains the core material of the Trait-Map Certified Practitioner course (~2 hours):

Comparison with other similar wide-band personality tests

Inventory / Development time Model type Model Structure Questionnaire format
HPI Hogan Personality Inventory
(since the late 1970s)
Factor analytic model since 1992 41 Sub-scales in 7 Dimensions Normative: 206 True/False statements
shl OPQ
(first published in 1984)
Theoretical model, 32 traits since 2005 32 Primary Scales in 3 Areas (OPQ32r) Ipsative: 104 blocks of 3 items (312 items in total)
Facet Five
(since the late 1980s)
Factor analytic model 13 Sub-Scales in 5 Dimensions Normative: 106 items with semantic opposite description pairs
(since 2002)
Big Five informed theoretical model 25 Primary Scales in 5 Dimensions Ipsative: 25 blocks of 5 items (125 items in total)

You can obtain more details about this comparison by following this link: Personality test comparison

Background information

Trait-Map® (previously called FiT In) is the result of 15 years of personality test development work. The first commercial version was developed in Shanghai by an international team of business psychologists and consultants in 2001–2002. Developing authors: Friedemann Demmer, Gabor Nagy. Scientific advisors: Cynthia Zhang (MA), Lv Xiaojun (PhD), Guo Xiaowei (PhD). The team developed the English and Chinese versions simultaneously. A great starting point for the development work was the IPIP-NEO test and the International Personality Item Pool, created by Lewis R. Goldberg, PhD, a senior scientist at the Oregon Research Institute. The psychometric quality of Trait-Map® has been certified by the Psychometric Committee of Shanghai Psychological Association since 2006. Trait-Map® has been improved through several iterative versions since then, and the reports underwent a major revision in 2012 by Josephine Doyle, Daniel Smith, and Gabor Nagy. The questionnaire has been made radically shorter by creation of an innovative questionnaire design. Today Trait-Map® has become widely popular, and it has been translated into German, Dutch, Malaysian, and Hungarian as well. It also has been included in the Paradigm Suite of Assessment Reports by the Business Learning Foundation (UK).

Five Major Dimensions of Personality

The emergence and broad acceptance of the Five Factor Model of personality – commonly referred to as the "Big Five" – has been the greatest single advance in personality research (Digman, 1990; Hogan, Hogan, & Roberts, 1996). Trait-Map® benefited greatly from the Big Five research, especially from the IPIP research conducted by Dr. Lewis R. Goldberg and Dr. John A. Johnson.

In the last decade there has been a series of advances which unequivocally demonstrate that personality, as assessed through standardized instruments, has a predictive relationship with job performance approaching, and in many cases exceeding, that of cognitive ability. The major driving force of accelerating research has been the emergence and broad acceptance of the Five Factor model of personality, commonly referred to as the "Big Five" (Digman, 1990; Hogan, Hogan, & Roberts, 1996): the greatest single advance in personality research.

Psychologists have studied human traits with the purpose of predicting behavior for more than 100 years (a trait is a temporally stable, cross-situational individual difference). The new paradigm now for studying personality traits is the Five-Factor Model (FFM) or Big Five dimensions of personality. The FFM and the Big Five are conceptually distinct models, however, they are closely related in practice.

The five factors of FFM were derived from factor analyses of a large number of self- and peer reports on personality-relevant adjectives and questionnaire items. The factors of the Big Five were derived from factor analyses of natural language, based on the lexical hypothesis that most salient and socially relevant individual differences will come to be encoded as terms in our language. Even though FFM and Big Five have different origins, they identified the same five dimensions of personality.

Big Five Dimension
Alternate Names
Sample Associated Trait Descriptions - Positive Pole
Sample Associated Trait Descriptions - Negative Pole
Surgency, Assertiveness
Sociable, Gregarious, Assertive, Talkative, Expressive, Enthusiastic, Outgoing, Self-Confident
Quiet, Reserved, Shy, Retiring, Taciturn, Inhibited
Conformity, Dependability
Careful, Thorough, Responsible, Planful, Persevering, Achievement Oriented, Efficient, Self-disciplined, Diligent
Inconsistent, Impulsive, Undisciplined, Unreliable
Emotional Stability
Calm, Relaxed, Steady, Easy-going
Anxious, Depressed, Angry, Worried, Insecure, Tense, Vulnerable, High-strung
Likeability, Friendliness
Courteous, Flexible, Cooperative, Tolerant, Caring, Trusting, Supportive, Altruistic, Sympathetic, Kind, Modest
Spiteful, Self-Centred, Self- Aggrandizing, Hostile, Indifferent, Cold, Coarse, Mean-spirited
Openness to Experience
Culture, Intellectance, Inquiring Intellect
Imaginative, Creative, Curious, Cultured, Sharp-witted, Broad-minded, Inventive, Insightful, Complex
Simple, Concrete, Narrow, Imitative, Unimaginative

Some Important Characteristics of the Five Factors

  • The factors are dimensions, not types, so people vary continuously on them, with most people falling in between the extremes.
  • The factors are stable over a 45-year period beginning in young adulthood (Soldz & Vaillant, 1999).
  • The factors and their specific facets are heritable (i.e., genetic), at least in part (Jang, McCrae, Angleitner, Riemann, & Livesley, 1998; Loehlin, McCrae, Costa, & John, 1998).
  • The factors are considered universal, having been recovered in languages as diverse as German and Chinese (McCrae & Costa, 1997).

Comparison between the MBTI and the Big Five

Big Five
Based on the personality theory of Carl Jung (1921), and developed in the 1940s by Katharine Cook Briggs and Isabel Briggs Myers.
Based on experience in factor analysis, popularised by Goldberg (1993), Digman (1990), John, Angleitner, & Ostendorf (1988), McCrae (1992) and others.
Psychological model
A four-dimension model with sixteen independent types.
Five dimensions of personality, where each dimension can contain a number of independent traits (Trait-Map® includes 25 traits); An emphasis on individual personality traits and their relations (the type concept is gone); A large number of possible personality profiles.
Relatively simple.
Relatively complex.
Field of use
Career development, team building. Must NOT be used in recruitment and employee assessment.
Can be used in all HR areas, including recruitment and employee assessment.

Comments on the Big Five from Significant Authors

"In order for any field of science to advance, it is necessary to have an accepted classification scheme for accumulating and categorizing empirical findings. We believe that the robustness of the five-factor model provides a meaningful framework for formulating and testing hypotheses relating individual differences in personality to a wide range of criteria in personnel psychology, especially in the subfields of personnel selection, performance appraisal, and training and development."
- Murray R. Barrick & Michael K. Mount, Dept. of Management and Organizations, University of Iowa. "The Big Five Personality Dimensions and Job Performance: A Meta-Analysis." Personnel Psychology, 1991, 44, 1-26.

"Personality psychologists who continue to employ their preferred measure without locating it within the five-factor model can only be likened to geographers who issue reports of new lands but refuse to locate them on a map for others to find."
- D.J. Ozer & S.P. Reise, "Personality Assessment,"Annual Review of Psychology 1994, 45, 357-388.

"Among personality psychologists, there is a rapidly growing consensus that the domain of individual differences in adulthood, as measured by rating scales and questionnaire items, is almost completely described by five broad factors...."
- Halverson, C.F., Jr., Kohnstamm, G.A., & Martin, R.P. (1994). The Developing Structure of Temperament and Personality from Infancy to Adulthood. Hillsdale, N.J.: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.

Trait-Map® and IPIP

The first version of Trait-Map® in 2001 was based on the International Personality Item Pool and multiple personality constructs, especially the IPIP-NEO, created by Lewis R. Goldberg, PhD, at the Oregon Research Institute (Goldberg, 1991). This item pool has been used in the construction of a range of assessment tools for the U.S. Air Force and for corporations in the US and in Europe. The IPIP-NEO inventory has been administered to more than 200,000 people all over the world by Professor John A. Johnson, and is becoming one of the most popular Five Factor personality inventories.

Dr. Lewis R. Goldberg, a senior scientist at Oregon Research Institute and Professor Emeritus at the University of Oregon, serves on the editorial board of the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, Personality & Individual Differences, the European Journal of Personality, and the Journal of Personality Assessment. He has more than 100 publications in the field of personality psychology.

Dr. John A. Johnson is professor at the Pennsylvania State University; his main research field is personality tests during personnel selection. He has received many awards: from the University of Bielefeld, the Provost's Collaborative and Curricular Innovations Special Recognition Program Award; the STAR Project Award; and the Alumni/Student Award for Excellence in Teaching. Besides numerous publications in journals, he also published a book: Hogan, R., Johnson, J. A., & Briggs, S. R. (1997). Handbook of personality psychology. San Diego: Academic Press.

Product Summary: Trait-Map® Personality Assessment
Trait-Map® Report Cover
Product description: Advanced forced-choice personality test based on trait theory and the Big Five. It measures 25 primary traits and provides wide ranges of secondary scales and reports.
Category: Personality test
Users: Recruiters, Headhunters, Trainers, Coaches, HR, and OD professionals
Publisher: OD-Tools®

Please Contact Us for pricing and licensing information.