Psychology and Computers

Some people see psychology and computer science as separate fields with little in common. The consensus is that computer science is a discipline with strong research culture that is based on quantitative research while psychology is rooted in qualitative studies of human behavior and perception.

In reality, a lot of modern computer science is psychologically inspired. The design of interfaces for technology – from car dashboards to airplane cockpits, from operating systems for computers to game controllers – is largely developed by psychologists working closely with computer scientists. Additionally, a significant portion of psychological research is heavily statistical and requires sophisticated software to process huge data sets.

Psychologists are also increasingly using technology to broaden their reach. The traditional methods of research in psychology, which are based on examining one aspect of behavior within the confines of a controlled environment, or assessing more general patterns of behavior with interviews or self-report questionnaires, have inherent limitations. (Experiments are usually limited to a single study; longitudinal studies are rare because of the difficulty in collecting and analyzing large quantities of data.)

Computer technology has provided new ways to understand the behavior of people. Computers are vital to the brain-imaging technology known as fMRI. Researchers can link specific brain regions with cognitive processes like memory or reading. EEG (electroencephalography) is another example of a technology that uses computer processing to record and analyze brain activity.

The CCBT method is now accepted by the UK’s National Health Service as an effective treatment of mild-to moderate anxiety and depression. Artificial intelligence (AI) is on the other hand, is set to transform psychotherapy by replacing therapists and treating patients online using robots.

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