Psychology and Computers

Some view psychology and computers as two distinct fields with little in common. The general consensus is that computer science is a field with an enviable research culture while psychology is rooted in qualitative research of human behavior and perception.

But in fact, a lot of modern computer science is influenced by psychological principles. Computer scientists and psychologists collaborate to develop technology interfaces. This encompasses everything from car dashboards to cockpits and computer operating systems to game controllers. A lot of psychological research requires sophisticated software to process huge data sets.

Psychologists are also increasingly using technology to increase their reach. The traditional methods for experimentation of psychology focusing on the behavior of a specific individual in a very controlled setting, or assessing broader behavior patterns using self-report questionnaires and interviews – have inherent limitations (experiments are limited to a single study; longitudinal studies are not common due to the difficulty of analyzing and collecting large quantities of data).

The use of computer technologies has opened new possibilities for understanding people behavior. For example the brain-imaging method fMRI is not possible without computers. The technology allows researchers to match specific areas of the brain to specific cognitive processes, for example, memory or reading. EEG (electroencephalography) is another example of a technology that uses computer processing to record and analyze brain activity.

The CCBT approach is now recognized by the UK’s National Health Service as an effective treatment of mild-to moderate anxiety and depression. Artificial intelligence (AI) is set to revolutionize the practice of psychotherapy by replacing the therapist with robots that are able to evaluate and treat patients online.

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