Psychology and Computers

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Psychology isn’t an exception. Technology influences or touches virtually every aspect of life today including psychology. In the same way that technology influences how people act and think, as well as how they work, psychologists employ technology to investigate, comprehend and even treat mental health issues. Technology also helps psychologists with their research, enabling them to gather and analyze data much faster and more accurately than they could otherwise. From using computers to create fMRI images to developing electronic symptom assessment and tracking tools for patients with depression and anxiety technology is a major part of psychological treatment and research.

Technology can also impact the way humans interact with the digital systems in which they interact daily. A lot of the most well-known technology companies have large departments with psychologists who are experts in perception and cognition of humans. They conduct research to understand how people react to certain designs and then make recommendations accordingly. In reality, the majority of the time you’re using a technology, be it your phone or Facebook, you’re benefiting from collaboration between computer science and psychology.

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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 focuses on “affective computing,” which is the study of how computers are able to recognize 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 angry or anxious, so it can intervene before it occurs.

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