Forced Choice Discovery Model

This article applies to people curious about the forced choice model of the DNA Behavior Natural Behavior Discovery.

Common Questions:

 What is forced choice model?

Why does DNA Behavior use a forced choice model?

Why is DNA Behavior discovery so difficult to complete for some people?

Solution Overview:

In this article, we discuss the forced choice model for questionnaires and explain what forced choice is, why it was chosen for the DNA Behavior Natural Behavior Discovery, and why it is sometimes challenging for people.


The DNA Behavior Discovery Process was designed to holistically uncover, capture and measure all dimensions of a person's natural DNA behavioral style as the core of their personality. How people make decisions, take direction and work with others; how they interact and build relationships, achieve results, handle information, complete tasks, develop trust, set and achieve goals, take and live with risks and their learning styles. This also includes their communication style, financial decision-making style, behavioral (finance) biases, and also their response to the market movement (as an example).

Following this research period, DNA Behavior International determined to build systems powered with reliable “Swiss Watch” predictability and user-friendly “Smart Watch” functionality in terms of how behavioral insights are used on a real-time and scalable basis in all areas of day-to-day life, financial planning, and business activities.

After significant academic research6, the Forced Choice Assessment Model was selected over the more traditionally used Normative (Likert-type) Scaling Model for measuring Natural DNA behavior. This led to the design of the DNA Natural Behavior Discovery Process; a system capable of assessing 8 major behavioral factors as well as 24 related sub-factors.

What is the Forced Choice Assessment?

The Forced Choice Assessment Model invites respondents to compare two or more desirable options. When there are 2 statements in a block, participants are simply asked to select one statement that better describes them. For blocks of 3, 4, or more statements, respondents may be asked to rank-order the statements or to select one statement which is “most like me” and one which is “least like me”.11

  • A Forced Choice item approach is relatively safe-guarded against the problems of normative items, such as social desirability bias. This is assuming that the items themselves are of high quality and correctly structured. Whereas a traditional personality questionnaire using the Normative/Likert method will ask the individual to rate their agreement to a statement on a scale of 1-5, a well-structured Force Choice format gives the applicant a choice of 2-4 equally positive statements, and they must give their preference or agreement to one of them. An example is to choose from: “I enjoy social events” or “I like to keep organized”. This format forces the participant to think more about their answer and answer more truthfully, as there is not one obviously desirable quality to pick from. Also, the Forced Choice format reduces the potential for the participant to agree or disagree.
  • A Forced Choice format using blocks of items enables greater insight into the interactions between the items for enabling more specific measurement of the behavioral factors (traits).

The design of DNA Behavior International’s Forced Choice Format for measuring 8 primary behavioral factors and 24 sub-factors on the left and right-hand side (64 traits in total) is intended to be more specific than Costa and McCrae’s (1985) measure of the “Big Five” and most other personality inventories in the market. This required depth in measurement can only be achieved using a Forced Choice Assessment Format because its calculation model inherently provides greater levels of behavioral insight. Further, the Forced Choice Model is also by its inherent nature preferred for measuring a person’s natural instinctive style rather than their situational bias in a particular area of personality.


The DNA Natural Behavior Assessment is comprised of 46 sets of three non-situational items (pairs of phrases) that relate to one of the 8 factors using a forced choice rating (most like, least like) methodology. A total of 138 rating items. The responses to the 46 questions (138 rating items) produce 2,349,060 scoring combinations. The number of unique report T Score31 combinations is: 3,704,945,600,000,000,512,144,136.

Independent validation work requiring more than 60 man years of time, using established psychometric methodologies, performed by industrial psychologists from Georgia Tech University, and other independent psychologists with a total of more than 100 years relevant experience, authenticates this approach.

This DNA Natural Behavior Discovery Process differentiator is important for the following reasons:

  • It overcomes the problem of “who someone says they are”, or “wants to be” versus “who they actually are”. While many people can learn to mask their true behavior for temporary periods or navigate around unpleasant situations, they still have a central reference point in their personal approach which they revert to in times of extreme stress.
  • It creates a framework to communicate with and serve people on a consistent basis based on who they are.
  • It delivers a more reliable prediction of how a person will behave across different life, business, and financial events, to assist them make better longer-term decisions.
  • It enables talent development to start from the center of a person’s natural strength and struggles, rather than who they have learned to become, or a misconception of who they think they are.
  • It provides crucial insight into the hiring process, to be able to hire people into the right role based on their natural talents rather than the situational exhibited behavior.
  • It enables the matching of people for long-term personal and business relationships.

Why do people find it difficult to answer forced-choice discoveries?

Well-constructed forced choice discoveries ask participants to choose from equally desirable traits or phrases thus creating some difficulty in selecting a “least like me” choice. In some cases, people fail to see themselves strongly represented with choices and struggle to choose “most like me” as the traits described while desirable, don’t seem natural for the participant. In order to get long-lasting results and accuracy, the DNA Behavior Natural Behavior Discovery forces the choice of non-situational phrases in order to measure specific ingrained behaviors and automatic biases over long periods.

If you would like to read more about Forced Choice assessments – you can refer to our paper:

Forced Choice Assessment Model Methodology

Still Need Help?

 Submit a ticket here