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What is Psychogalaxy?

Psychogalaxy is a website devoted to the psychology of social relationships.

It uses special, new scientific methods to help users to understand themselves and their relationships with their friends and partners.

It is not the social networks, but rather the psychological structure of the community that Psychogalaxy aims to map out. At our site, users can retain full anonymity, so they can participate in an exciting psychological study in complete safety.

On the other hand, Psychogalaxy is also a scientific research programme: it is the largest Internet-based psychological study in the country today. The aim of the research is to gather useful information about relationships and friendships that can help people cope better with life and be happier.

We conduct scientific research into human relationships with the intention of helping people, because we have recognised that the quality of human life, levels of satisfaction and, in many instances, also health, i.e. the sense of happiness, is fundamentally determined by the quality of human relationships. The aim of the research is to help people form relationships that they are satisfied with and which make their lives better, more complete.

The objectives of Psychogalaxy

Psychogalaxy aims to help its users live happier lives in three ways:

  • Developing psychological self-knowledge
  • Improving the quality of existing relationships
  • Creating new relationships that meet the real needs of users

Psychogalaxy develops self-knowledge through psychological tests that users can complete online. With sufficient self-knowledge, people can find suitable goals for themselves. This can help us find the lifestyle, schedule or even the job that suits us best. It can also help in forming a deeper understanding of our friendships and relationships, and with discovering our value systems and identities. Our software calculates the results of the online self-knowledge tests and interprets them in relation to existing norms and standards automatically. The end result is a textual psychological appraisal that consists of characterisations, advice and comments that could be food for further thought.

The tests directed at existing relationships survey the unique characteristics of friendships and romantic relationships. They include some questionnaires that can be completed by individuals, while others are only really useful if both people do them. The individual tests analyse relationship profiles, styles of attachment and the strengths and potential risks of relationships. The tests for couples assess the match between the personalities of the two people, their similarities and dissimilarities.

A separate expert system supports the formation of new relationships. The results of all tests are registered in a central database, which uses the latest results of psychology to create links between the data. The process covers all users, so the system places the users in an unprecedented ‘psychological cosmos’. The result is the ‘psychological map’ of the community of users which gave the website its name. Based on all the available data, the system calculates the probability of a positive relationship for all pairs of users. The process is based on the test results, the data provided during registration and the research results that preceded the development of Psychogalaxy.

The scientific objective of Psychogalaxy

Once enough people complete the tests, Psychogalaxy will not only be able to produce psychological maps of individual users but also a psychological analysis of individual social groups and communities.

The research will also contribute to the standardisation of existing tests and the development of new psychological research tools. The questionnaires include the Hungarian version of the Big Five Inventory, the Feeney and Noller Attachment Style Questionnaire and the Hungarian version of Olson’s FACES test. The rest of the questionnaires are new tools for measuring relationships that were developed during our research. The non-verbal tests are projective tests, some of which are new, while others are modified versions of the Grätz Scribble Test, Rapp’s Drama Test, the Schmiedek Personal Sphere Model and a few categories of the Metamorphosis Test.

The research in the background of Psychogalaxy is also a part of a larger, comprehensive series of research projects conducted at Károli University, Hungary, aimed at computer analysis of the projective test situation, the systems theoretical approach to projective psychodiagnostics, the psychological applications of artificial intelligence and research methodologies for multiperson interaction dynamics.

The research is led by the foremost researchers in these fields of psychology, Prof. Dr. Emőke Bagdy, Prof. Dr. András Vargha and Dr. Zoltán Vass.

The scientific background of Psychogalaxy

Psychogalaxy is based on theoretical work, as well as the results of empirical research conducted by the developers and scientific researchers of the system. The theoretical work was conducted using one of the best methodologies in the domestic and international literature. The empirical studies were preliminary studies concerning the function and psychometric monitoring of social relationships. The largest preliminary study had a subject population of 1392 people.

Psychogalaxy uses special instruments of projective testing. In addition to the questionnaires we have developed, it also features drawing tests, scribble tests, symbol tests and colour tests.

Projective tests use methods that allow them to ‘see through’ the surface to the hidden, repressed components of personality. They can be used to discover qualities, desires, needs, requirements that the test subject himself is unaware of or has only vague feelings about.

The evaluation of the tests is based on ground-breaking psychological research that uses a systems theoretical approach and artificial intelligence modelling. The research has received post-doctoral research grants from the Hungarian Academy of Science and Germany’s Humboldt Foundation.

More detail and useful links are available on the Scientific Background page of Psychogalaxy.

How to use Psychogalaxy

The use of Psychogalaxy proceeds through the following phases:

  1. Anonymous registration (without any data suited to identification).
  2. After registration, Psychogalaxy offers various tests that are capable of assessing certain personality traits.
  3. After the tests are completed, the site’s software evaluates them automatically and generates a deep psychological analysis for the user. The report discusses both the individual user and his/her tested relationships. In many cases, the system will also provide users with advice and questions for consideration.
  4. Based on the tests, the system builds a psychological model of each user and places the users in various maps. This can help users gain a better knowledge of themselves, but also to find similar persons (‘kindred spirits’) by surfing the psychological space (community) created by the users.
  5. After a user has tagged his/her old friends or found new ones, the system facilitates communication through the familiar tools of Internet community portals but also with some new ones, such as the Drawing-in-Pairs feature and Psychoblogs.

Acquaintances on Psychogalaxy

Psychogalaxy aims to develop social relationships, so both people who already know each other well and people who don’t know each other but match in a psychological sense can link up and tag each other.

Tagging a friend or a partner as an acquaintance on Psychogalaxy is only possible with the advance content of both parties. The links thus established form couples, and the entire community consists of many independent and unconnected groups centred on each user, as users can only contact their direct acquaintances but get no information about their pals’ associates.

Psychogalaxy requires no data that could be used to identify users at registration. Users choose their own user names (nicknames), preferably that are unconnected to their real names.

As the system does not store users’ real names and does not disclose any other identifying data to other users, either, it is practically impossible to find one’s acquaintances among registered users.

People can only find each other if they exchange user names outside Psychogalaxy. Once the user name is known, it can be searched and the user can be marked as an acquaintance. The link is only created if the other party verifies it.

Who can read psychological appraisals?

By default, psychological appraisals may only be read by their owners. However, if the user issues a specific instruction to this effect, the system will show appraisals to other users as well.

Communication

Psychogalaxy supports communication between users once they established a connection. The usual services (e-mail, chat, forums) are all available, as we wish to allow users to stay in touch as long as they like without revealing their names or contact details to each other. Psychogalaxy also offers a special kind of web log, the psychoblog.

The Drawing-in-Pairs feature, a non-verbal communication tool, is another new means of keeping in touch.

Psychoblogs

Psychogalaxy also supports the keeping of a special kind of web log, called a ‘Psychoblog’. This is similar to a blog, the only difference is that the psychological events occurring in the user’s life at Psychogalaxy are recorded in it automatically.

Drawing tests

Psychogalaxy users can also get to know themselves and each other better by doing drawing tests.

The tests consist of producing scribbles, colour drawings and drawing in pairs. They can decide to show or send their drawings to others.

Drawing-in-pairs is an online application that allows users at different locations to draw onto the same surface at the same time.

While drawing in pairs has been used as a means of testing relationships in psychology for a while, its computer implementation on the internet is a novel feature of Psychogalaxy. Experience so far shows that the Drawing-in-Pairs feature of Psychogalaxy is an intensive and pleasant experience that often releases a childlike playfulness in people.

The first step of drawing in pairs is the invitation. Of course, only people who are online at the same time can draw together. Once the invitation is accepted, the drawing starts on a shared virtual sheet. Both users can draw, paint and erase freely, and both see their own work as well as that of the partner in real time.

What makes drawing in pairs special is the experience of collaborative creative work and the evolving non-verbal communication. After the drawing is completed, the ‘artists’ get a chat window in which they can discuss their experience.

The drawing process can be replayed later, which allows the process of communication to be observed and understood, which contributes to self-knowledge.

Drawing together does not require any particular manual skills or drawing talent – anyone can do it.

The completed drawings can be viewed in a gallery by those who have already drawn themselves, i.e. those whose test responses would not be influenced by viewing the drawings.

The Psychogalaxy star chart

This is one of the most interesting novel features of Psychogalaxy. It is a ‘map’ that people can use to find similar people. It has a scientific basis, as Psychogalaxy surveys the psychological space of its user community using the tests and then represents it graphically. Each user gets a personalised representation of that space, with them in the centre, in which the relative positions of all other users are shown. The site also lets users surf that space. The closer another user is, the more compatible the two people are likely to be.

There are two types of maps, friendship and partner maps, because the criteria of compatibility are different for romantic relationships and for friendships.

If the cursor is moved onto a ‘planet’ (i.e. person) in the maps, a window appears showing similarities in several characteristics. This is actually more difficult to describe than to use.

This way, we can find out how compatible we are with the planet representing another person without finding out any information about that person without their permission.

If you find people who you may find interesting while surfing the star chart, you can tag them and attempt to contact them either by sending a message or by inviting them for paired drawing. The connection can be made immediately (if the other person is online in the system), but it can also happen offline.

Data protection

Psychogalaxy’s security (data protection and privacy) policy is based on the following principles:

  1. User security was the most important design criterion for the Psychogalaxy website. We believe that maximum security can be achieved if we store no data suited to the identification of users in the system at all. Consequently, Psychogalaxy users are completely anonymous and therefore completely secure.
  2. It is not the users’ identities but their personalities that Psychogalaxy wishes to understand. Therefore, users are not identified and are asked to choose user names that are not connected to their real names.
  3. As the system does not store personal identification data at all, it does not fall under the data protection act. Nevertheless, we have developed data management regulations which can be viewed by all users.
  4. Psychogalaxy does not register IP-addresses, does not use cookies and does not collect any data about users other than those specifically submitted by users.
  5. The only piece of data that could possibly be linked to users is their e-mail address. The system stores e-mail addresses separately and in encrypted form. They are never disclosed to other users unless specifically requested. Only the system can send e-mails to the e-mail addresses, other users may not use them.
  6. It is not possible to find acquaintances or to look at other people’s acquaintances and relationships on Psychogalaxy. Users can only tag their friends on Psychogalaxy if this is actually the wish of both people and if they agree about it in advance.
  7. Anyone can upload a photo to Psychogalaxy, but they will only be shown to other users if the owner specifically requests this.
  8. Psychogalaxy has a privilege system that is sophisticated but easy to use (all settings can be adjusted in a single table). The default settings prohibit anyone else from viewing the user’s data. This gives users complete control over access to their data.
  9. Unless users specifically request it, Psychogalaxy only makes the following information about them available to other users: user name, age, gender, time they were last online, activity indicator, consistency index (an evaluation of the authenticity of the data provided).