Psychology and Computers
When you first think about it, computers and psychology may appear to be two completely separate domains. Psychologists analyze human behavior and health, while computer scientists code algorithms and creating software that aids people accomplish everyday tasks. But the truth is that these two disciplines overlap in many ways. In fact, some of the most interesting research being conducted in both fields is involving mixing computer science and psychology.
Computer science has made it much easier to conduct psychological research. For example FMRI scans enable psychologists to identify which areas of the brain are active during certain types of thoughts or actions. Online questionnaires can eliminate the biases inherent in paper-and-pencil surveys.
The collaboration between psychologists and computer scientists has revolutionized the way we interact with technology. The Psychology of Human-Computer Interaction was written in 1983 by three scientists from Xerox Palo Alto Research Center, Stuart Card, Thomas Moran and Allen Newell, was one of the most important moments in the merging.
It also pushed research on the way humans use computers into the realm of computer science. It separated psychological methods from their human context and causing psychologists to catch up. Branches of psychology already dealing with evaluations using numbers, such as psychometricians, discovered the computer science approach particularly amenable to their work.
Now, psychologists are working with computer scientists to create AI that can help better understand human behavior. Psychologists are helping to develop ethical guidelines for algorithms that can predict the risk of depression based on the social media activities of a person. Psychologists are using cognitive behavior therapy in virtual reality to treat anxiety disorders as well as other disorders.