Psychology and Computers

Some people see computers and psychology as two distinct fields with very little in common. The consensus is that computer science is a discipline that has an enviable research culture while psychology is rooted in qualitative studies of human behavior and perception.

In reality the majority of modern computer science is inspired by psychological factors. The design of interfaces for technology – from car dashboards to plane cockpits as well as operating systems for computers to games controllers – is largely driven by psychologists who work closely with computer scientists. Additionally, a significant portion of psychological research is statistically intensive and requires sophisticated software to process large data sets.

Psychologists are increasingly relying on technology to extend their reach. The traditional methods of research in psychology, which involve examining the behavior of a specific person in a controlled environment or assessing more general patterns of behavior with self-report questionnaires or interviews, have inherent limitations. (Experiments are typically restricted to a single experiment while longitudinal studies are uncommon due to the difficulty of collecting and analyzing large volumes of data.)

Computer technology has opened new avenues to study individuals' behaviors. Computers are crucial for the brain-imaging technology fMRI. This technology allows researchers to connect specific areas of the brain with specific cognitive processes, for example, memory or reading. EEG (electroencephalography) is another example of a technology that uses computer processing to record and analyze brain activity.

CCBT is now acknowledged by the UK's National Health Service as an effective treatment for mild-to moderate depression and anxiety. Artificial intelligence (AI) is, on the other hand, is set to transform psychotherapy by replacing the therapist and treating patients online via robots.

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