Psychology and Computers

When you first think of it, psychology and computers may appear to be two completely separate domains. Psychologists analyze human behavior and health, while computer scientists develop algorithms and creating software that can help people do their daily tasks. However, the reality is that these two disciplines have a lot in common. Some of the most exciting research in both fields is being carried out by combining psychology with computer science.

Computer science has made it much easier to conduct studies in psychology. For instance FMRI scanners permit psychologists to see what areas of the brain are active during specific actions or thoughts. Online surveys also eliminate the biases that are present in pencil and paper surveys.

The collaboration between computer scientists and psychologists has transformed the way that 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 fusion.

It shifted research into how people use computers into domain of computer science. This removed psychological methods from their human context and made it necessary for psychologists to catch up. Psychometricians and other psychology branches that deal with numerical evaluations have found the computer science approach especially useful.

Psychologists and computer scientists are collaborating 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 help predict the likelihood of a person developing depression by analyzing their social media activity. And psychologists are incorporating cognitive behavioral therapy into virtual reality, which can be used to treat anxiety and other disorders.