When you first think of it, psychology and computers might seem like two completely separate domains. Psychologists examine human behavior and mental health and computer scientists work on coding algorithms and developing software that allows people to perform everyday tasks. However, the reality is that these two fields are in many ways similar. In fact some of the most fascinating research being conducted in both fields involves the fusion of computer science and psychology.
In the field of psychological research, technological advances in computer science have made it easier to conduct psychological tests. For example the fMRI scanners can help psychologists to determine which areas of the brain are active when a particular thought or action is performed. Online questionnaires also remove the biases inherent in pencil and paper surveys.
However, it's the collaboration between computer scientists and psychologists that has changed the interaction we have with technology. The Psychology of Human-Computer Interaction which was published in 1983 by three scientists from Xerox Palo Alto Research Center, Stuart Card, Thomas Moran and Allen Newell, was one of the most significant events in the fusion.
It brought studies of the way computers are used by people into the realm of computer science. This removed psychological methods from their human context and made it necessary for psychologists to catch up. Psychometricians and other fields of psychology that deal with numerical evaluations have found the computer science method to be particularly useful.
Today, psychologists and computer scientists are working together to develop AI which can better understand human behavior. Psychologists are helping develop ethical guidelines for algorithms able to predict the risk of depression based on the social media activities of a person. Psychologists are applying cognitive behavior therapy to virtual reality to treat anxiety disorders as well as other conditions.