Psychology and Computers

When you first consider it, psychology and computers might seem like two completely separate domains. Computer scientists develop software and code algorithms to aid people in their daily lives psychology studies the human behavior and mental health of people. In reality, these two disciplines overlap on a variety of levels. Some of the most exciting research in both fields is being carried out by combining psychology and computer science.

In terms of research in psychology technological advancements in computer science have helped make it easier to conduct psychological tests. For instance the fMRI scanners can help psychologists to identify which parts of the brain are active when a particular thought or action is performed. And online questionnaires eliminate the biases inherent in paper-and-pencil surveys.

The collaboration between computer scientists and psychologists has revolutionized the way we interact with technology. The Psychology of Human-Computer Interaction was published in 1983 by three researchers from Xerox Palo Alto Research Center, Stuart Card, Thomas Moran and Allen Newell, was one of the most significant developments in the combination.

It pushed studies of the way that humans use computers into the realm of computer science, separating psychological methods from their human context, and making psychologists catch up. Psychometricians as well as other areas of psychology that deal with numerical evaluations have found the computer science approach to be especially useful.

In the present, psychologists and computer scientists are collaborating to develop AI which can better understand human behavior. For instance psychologists are helping to shape the ethical guidelines for the creation of algorithms that could help predict the risk of depression for a person by analyzing their social media usage. And psychologists are using cognitive behavioral therapy to create virtual reality, which can be used to treat anxiety and other disorders.

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