Psychology and Computers

Admin, Sunday, October 8, 2023

When you first begin thinking about it, computers and psychology might seem like two completely distinct fields. Psychologists examine human behavior and mental health and computer scientists code algorithms and developing software that can help people perform everyday tasks. In real life, these two fields are inextricably linked on many levels. Some of the most interesting research in both fields is being conducted by combining psychology and computer science.

Computer science has made it easier to conduct experiments in psychology. For instance, fMRI scans allow psychologists to see which areas of the brain are active during certain kinds of actions or thoughts. Online questionnaires also eliminate the biases inherent in pencil and paper surveys.

However, it’s the cooperation between computer scientists and psychologists that has truly changed the ways we interact with technology. The Psychology of Human-Computer Interaction, published in 1983 by three scientists from Xerox Palo Alto Research Center, Stuart Card, Thomas Moran and Allen Newell, was one of the most significant events in the convergence.

It shifted research into the way people use computers into the realm of computer science. This removed psychological methods from their context in humans and forced psychologists to catch up. Psychology departments that dealt with evaluations using numbers, such as psychometricians, discovered the computer science approach particularly suited to their work.

Now, psychologists are working together with computer scientists to develop AI that will help us better understand human behavior. For instance psychologists are helping develop the ethical guidelines for the development of algorithms that could predict a person’s depression risk by studying their social media usage. Psychologists are incorporating cognitive behavior therapy into virtual reality to treat anxiety disorders as well as other conditions.

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