At first, it may appear that psychology and computers are two distinct fields. Computer scientists develop software and code algorithms to help people with their everyday tasks and psychologists study the human behavior and mental health of people. In the real world, these two disciplines overlap on a variety of levels. In fact, some of the most fascinating research being conducted in both fields involves combining psychology and computer science.
For psychological research technological advances in computer science have helped make it easier to conduct psychological research. For instance, fMRI scanners enable psychologists to discover which regions of the brain are active when a particular thought or action is performed. Online surveys also eliminate the biases that can be found in paper and pencil surveys.
The collaboration between computer scientists and psychologists has revolutionized the way we interact with technology. The Psychology of Human-Computer Interaction was written in 1983 by three researchers from Xerox Palo Alto Research Center, Stuart Card, Thomas Moran and Allen Newell, was one of the most significant developments in the combination.
It moved studies of how computer users use them into the realm of computer science. This removed psychological methods from their context in humans and made it necessary for psychologists to catch up. Psychometricians and other fields of psychology that are concerned with numerical evaluations discovered the computer science approach especially useful.
Now, psychologists are working with computer scientists to develop AI which can better understand human behaviour. Psychologists are assisting in the development of ethical guidelines for algorithms that could predict depression risk based on the activities of a person’s social networks. Psychologists are applying cognitive behavior therapy to virtual reality to treat anxiety disorders and other conditions.