Psychology and Computers

At first, it might appear that computers and psychology are two separate fields. Psychologists analyze human behavior and health, while computer scientists develop algorithms and creating software that allows people to do their daily tasks. In reality, these two disciplines have a lot in common on many levels. Some of the most exciting research in both fields is being conducted by combining psychology and computer science.

In terms of research in psychology technological advances in computer science have made it easier to conduct psychological studies. For example, fMRI scans allow psychologists to identify which areas of the brain are activated during certain types of thoughts or actions. Online questionnaires eliminate the biases inherent in paper-and-pencil surveys.

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

It brought studies of how computer users use them into the realms of computer science. This removed psychological methods from their context in humans and forced psychologists to catch up. Psychometricians and other branches of psychology that are concerned with numerical evaluations discovered the computer science approach to be especially useful.

Psychologists are currently working with computer scientists to develop AI that will help us better understand human behaviour. For instance psychologists are helping define the ethical guidelines for the creation of algorithms that could help predict the risk of depression in a person by studying their social media activities. Psychologists are taking cognitive behavior therapy into virtual reality to treat anxiety disorders and other illnesses.

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