Psychology and Computers

Some people view psychology and computer science as distinct fields that have nothing in common. The general consensus is that computer science is a discipline with a strong quantitative research culture while psychology is rooted in qualitative studies of human behavior and perception.

In fact, much of the modern computer science is influenced by psychology. Psychologists and computer scientists collaborate to develop technology interfaces. This includes everything from dashboards for cars to cockpits and computer operating systems to game controllers. A lot of psychological research requires sophisticated software to process massive data sets.

Psychologists are increasingly relying on technology to expand their reach. The traditional methods of experimentation in psychology, which focus on one aspect of behavior in an environment controlled by a psychologist or assessing larger patterns of behavior using self-report questionnaires or interviews, have inherent limitations. (Experiments are typically limited to a single experiment while longitudinal studies are uncommon due to the difficulty in collecting and analyzing large volumes of data.)

Computer technology has opened up new ways to understand people’s behavior. For example, the brain-imaging technique fMRI could not be achieved without computers. Researchers can identify certain brain regions to cognitive processes such as memory or reading. EEG (electroencephalography) is another example of a technology that uses computer processing to record and analyze brain activity.

Moreover the UK’s National Health Service now recognizes the use of CCBT (computerized cognitive behavioral therapy) as an effective treatment for mild-to-moderate manifestations of depression and anxiety. Artificial intelligence (AI) is, on the other hand, is poised to revolutionize psychotherapy by replacing therapists and treating patients online with robots.

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