Psychology and Computers

Some people view psychology and computer science as two distinct fields with very little in common. The most popular view is that computer science has an extremely rigorous and quantitative research culture, while psychological studies are rooted in more qualitative studies of behavior and human perception.

However many of the innovations in computer science is psychologically inspired. The design of technology interfaces ranging from car dashboards, to airplane cockpits as well as computer operating systems to games controllers – is largely brought about by psychologists working closely with computer scientists. Also, a large portion of psychology research is highly statistical and requires sophisticated software to process large data sets.

Psychologists are increasingly relying on technology to expand their reach. The traditional methods of experimentation in psychology, which are based on examining one aspect of behavior within a controlled environment or assessing broad patterns of behavior via interviews or self-report questionnaires, have inherent limitations. (Experiments are usually limited to one experiment and longitudinal studies are not common due to the difficulty of gathering and analyzing large amounts of data.)

Computer technology has given us new ways to analyze people’s behavior. For example the brain-imaging method fMRI wouldn’t be possible without computers. The technology enables researchers to match specific parts of the brain with specific cognitive processes, such as reading or memory. 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 anxiety and depression. Artificial intelligence (AI) is set to transform psychotherapy by replacing the therapist with robots that are able to diagnose and treat patients online.