Tel: 604-271-3060

It doesn’t cost more to do it right!

At first, it may appear that psychology and computers are two separate fields. Computer scientists create software and code algorithms that aid people in their daily lives while psychologists study the human behavior and mental health of people. In the real world, these two disciplines have a lot in common on many levels. In fact some of the most exciting research currently being conducted in both fields is involving the fusion of computer science and psychology.

In terms of research in psychology technological advances in computer science have made it easier to conduct psychological studies. For instance, fMRI scans allow psychologists to see which areas of the brain activate during certain types of thoughts or actions. Online questionnaires remove the biases inherent in pen-and-paper surveys.

However, it’s the collaboration between computer scientists and psychologists that has changed the ways we interact with technology. One of the most significant moments in this fusion was in 1983 when the publication of The Psychology of Human-Computer Interaction by three scientists at the Palo Alto Research Center of Xerox: Stuart Card, Thomas Moran, and Allen Newell.

It also brought research on the way people use computers into the realm of computer science. This removed psychological methods from their human context and forced psychologists to catch up. Psychology branches that already dealt with numerical evaluations like psychometricians found the computer science approach particularly suitable to their work.

Now, psychologists are working together with computer scientists to develop AI that will help us better understand human behavior. For instance psychologists are helping develop the ethical guidelines for the creation of algorithms to predict a person’s depression risk by studying their social media usage. Psychologists are incorporating cognitive behavior therapy into virtual reality to treat anxiety disorders as well as other disorders.