The tests built here are compiled from two sources of information. First, there is already an extensive academic research literature around many of these topics. For example, here are three papers that discuss dating personality, relationship typology and infidelity:
Schmitt, D. P. & Buss, D. M. (2000) Sexual Dimensions of Person Description. Journal of Research in Personality, Vol 34, pp: 141-177 (Download PDF)
Sternberg, R. J. (1997) Construct Validation of a Triangular Love Scale, European Journal of Social Psychology, Vol 27, pp: 313-335 (Download PDF)
Treas, J. & Giesen, D. (2000) Sexual Infidelity Among Married and Cohabiting Americans, Journal of Marriage and the Family, Vol 62, pp:48-60 (Download PDF)
The advantage of using existing literature is that it allows us to tap into a vast pool of prior thinking and quantitative analysis. The disadvantage is that such research wasn’t necessarily designed to support predictive testing and doesn’t always align exactly with the items measured here. The research may also have been conducted in a different cultural climate (i.e. different types of people or a different decade). Hence, the second source of information is bespoke survey work carried out by Vivanautics specifically for building the tests on this site. As you will see when you take a test, sometimes this information is being gathered during the test itself, so that your experience and the experiences of others can be used to steadily improve the tests over time. On other occasions we run one off surveys to gather the necessary information.
The process of converting all this data into tests involves relatively sophisticated statistical analyses, but the underlying idea is simple and intuitive. Let’s say we want to predict how long your relationship will last and we have a database of 100s of other relationships that tells us what kinds of relationship they were (e.g. what the people were like, how the relationship started, how the relationship is currently functioning, etc.) and how long they lasted. The statistics allow us to understand which relationship characteristics are most strongly associated with longevity (e.g. being good friends beforehand) and which aren’t (e.g. whether you like the same music).
Indeed, the statistics allow us to understand not just whether a characteristic has any influence, but also its degree of influence (i.e. whether it’s a small or big effect) and whether it remains influential after controlling for other effects. For example, starting a relationship soon after the previous one is generally associated with having a shorter relationship. However, this may be because such relationships typically don’t develop from a good friendship because of the tighter timing, rather than because of the short gap per se. Hence, a short gap before starting a new relationship with a good friend may be fine, just uncommon. By using statistics we are able to identify which combinations of characteristics are most predictive so that we can then create a set of questions to estimate who has a higher risk of eventually breaking up and vice versa.