Ten Item Personality Inventory (TIPI)

The Ten Item Personality Inventory (TIPI), developed in the USA by Gosling, Rentfrow and Swan (2003) was designed to measure the dimensions of the Five Factor Model (FFM) of personality. Gosling et al. (2003) recognised that time is often a luxury in research and therefore designed a short instrument that would allow for quick administration and interpretation. Thus, the TIPI takes approximately one minute to complete.

Aiming to cover the breadth of the FFM, the items comprising the TIPI were culled from descriptors from existing Big-Five instruments such as the Big Five Inventory (BFI, John & Srivastava, 1999). The TIPI consists of 2 items for each of the 5 domains represented in the FFM. One item contains two desirable descriptors and the other, two undesirable descriptors (E.g. for Extraversion: extraverted, enthusiastic and reserved, quiet). Each of the ten items are rated on a 7-point Likert scale ranging from 1 (disagree strongly) to 7 (agree strongly).

 Gosling et al. (2003) recruited 1813 university students to complete the TIPI and the BFI. Six weeks later a sub-sample of 180 participants completed the tests again.

The TIPI reported low internal consistency (Extraversion, a = .68; Agreeableness, a = .40; Conscientiousness, a = .50; Emotional Stability, a = .73; Openness, a = .45). Gosling et al. (2003) recognised that with only two items per scale internal consistency would be compromised (where multi-item scales bolster internal consistency as several items may overlap in content). Thus researchers did not expect high levels of reliability and instead emphasised validity. The TIPI was tested against the BFI to determine convergent validity. Results revealed substantial significant convergent correlations (E, r = .87; A, r = .70; C, r = .75; ES, r = .81; O, r = .65). When using measures with few items. Wood and Hampson (2005) recommend test-retest procedure be utilised to verify reliability. The TIPI demonstrated adequate six-week test retest reliability (r = .72). Normative data for the TIPI were also reported (E, M  = 4.44; SD = 1.45; A, M = 5.23; SD = 1.11; C, M = 5.40, SD = 1.32; ES, M = 4.83, SD  = 1.42; O, M = 5.38, SD = 1.07).

The TIPI has been translated into a number of languages including Spanish (TIPI-SPA), Catalan (TIPI-CAT; Renau, Oberst, Gosling, Rusinol, & Chmarro, 2013) and German (TIPI – G; Muck, Hell & Gosling, 2007). Cross cultural validation revealed similar results on all three measures to those obtained in the study of the English-language TIPI (Gosling et al., 2003).

The TIPI is freely accessible online (via http://gosling.psy.utexas.edu/wp-content/uploads/2014/09/tipi.pdf) and can be utilised without permission.

A note from the researchers –

“We hope that this instrument will not be used in place of established multi-item instruments. Instead, we urge that this instrument be used when time and space are in short supply and when only an extremely brief measure of the Big Five will do.” (Gosling et al, 2003, p. 525).


Gosling, S.D., Rentfrow, P.J., & Swann, W.B., Jr. (2003). A very brief measure of the Big Five personality domains. Journal of Research in Personality, 37, 504-528. doi: 10.1016/S0092-6566(03)00046-1

Gosling, S.D., Rentfrow, P.J., & Swann, W.B., Jr. (2003). Ten Item Personality Inventory, accessed at http://gosling.psy.utexas.edu/wp-content/uploads/2014/09/tipi.pdf on 06/03/17.

John, O. P., & Srivastava, S. (1999). The Big Five trait taxonomy: History, measurement, and theoretical perspectives. In L. A. Pervin, & O. P. John (Eds.), Handbook of personality: Theory and research (pp.102–138). New York: Guilford Press.

Muck, P.M., Hell, B., & Gosling, S.D. (2007). Construct validation of a short Five Factor Model instrument: A self-peer study on the German adaptation of the Ten-Item Personality Inventory (TIPI-G). European Journal of Personality Assessment, 23, 166-175. doi: 10.1027/1015-5759.23.3.166

Renau, V., Oberst, U., Gosling, S.D., Rusinol, J., & Chamarro, A. (2013). Translation and validation of the Ten-Item Personality Inventory into Spanish and Catalan. Aloma.Revista de Psicologia, Ciencies de l’Educacio I de l’Esport, 31, 85-97.