Psychology and Computers

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

However, a lot of modern computer science is influenced by psychology. The design of technology interfaces ranging from car dashboards to aircraft cockpits and from operating systems for computers to games controllers – is largely created by psychologists who work closely with computer scientists. A significant portion of psychological research requires sophisticated software for processing large data sets.

Psychologists are also increasingly using technology to expand their reach. The traditional experimental methods in psychology, which involve examining one aspect of behavior in 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 experiment and longitudinal studies are not common due to the difficulty in collecting and analyzing large amounts of data.)

The use of computer technology has opened new avenues for understanding individuals behaviours. For instance the brain-imaging technology fMRI is not possible without computers. The technology enables researchers to connect specific areas of the brain to 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.

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