Psychology and Computers

Technology is a factor in practically every aspect of our lives today and this is no different in the realm of psychology. The same way that technology influences how people act, work, and think, psychologists also use technology to explore and understand mental illnesses and also to treat them. Technology also aids psychologists in their research, allowing them to gather and analyze data more quickly and precisely than they would otherwise. From using computers in fMRI imaging to the development of electronic symptom assessments and tracking tools for patients with anxiety and depression, technology is a huge part of psychological treatment and research.

Technology can also impact the way that humans interact with the digital systems they interact with every day. Many of the most well-known technology companies have large departments staffed with psychologists who are experts in the field of human cognition and perception, who carry out studies to discover how users react to certain designs, and then recommend changes accordingly. The majority of the time when you are using a piece technology, such as your phone or Facebook you are benefiting by the collaboration between psychology and computer science.

Sidney D’Mello, a researcher at Notre Dame University, is one of the many researchers working at the intersection of computers and psychology. His research is focused on “affective computing,” which is the study of how computers discern and interpret emotions. For example, his team has developed a model which could allow a computer to predict when a user is about to become frustrated or anxious, and can take action before that happens.

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