ADVANCED TECHNOLOGY AND PSYCHOLOGY
Instructions: To begin your journey into the research and literature in your field, reflect on the vision and goals you developed in your first assignment and reflect on your passions and areas of interest in psychology. Once you have an idea of the scope of your interests, audience, environment, and other details about your vision, formulate a research question that will provide you with more knowledge and skills for contributing to the field of psychology. As you create your question, think about the four W’s: who, what, why, and where. Here are a few examples:
What are the best practices for treating individuals of diverse cultural backgrounds?
How does technology impact learning in the elementary school classroom?
What might explain the increase in the number of children diagnosed with developmental disorders, such as autism and Asperger’s Syndrome?
Is there a relationship between leadership and emotional intelligence?
What role does birth order play in personality development?
ADVANCED TECHNOLOGY AND PSYCHOLOGY
Technology is an important paradigm that has become an
implicit part of human living. In this regard, there is a close connection
between psychology and technology, whereby one influences human behavior while
the other investigates it. The effects of technology on psychology are both
positive and negative. Some positive impacts include enhanced socialization and
collaboration. There are also negative outcomes, however, such as narcissism
and the development of antisocial behavior. Moreover, the accessibility of
technology places children at risk. In order to avert these risks, parents and
educators should be keen enough to realize the technological preferences of
each child. Parents should also closely monitor their children’s online
activity. The area of technology and psychology posits interesting studies
ahead, such as how advanced technologies like virtual realism will influence
human behavior and perceptions on reality.
Table of Contents
Technology has important implications for the field of psychology not only as an academic discipline, but also, as a practice. Advances in technology have been highly pervasive, affecting every aspect of human life. In this regard, technology is clawing its way into the realm of psychology, to become not only an object of study, but also complicit to the study itself. According to Terry, et al. (2013), technology and psychology possess a reciprocal relationship, one that they especially exemplify with reference to educational psychology. They go on to identify a pedagogical meaning of technology, which inculcates not just the tools of technology, but also its integration with learners and the learning environment. Technology indeed has an impact on the learning process. Its integration into can be used to realize a range of complex learning objectives such as cognitive development of learners through engaging activities and the development of assessment methods that are suited to measure the change and growth of learners (Terry, Mishra, Henriksen, Wolf, & Kereluik, 2013). These examples represent some of the more rudimentary ways in which technology interacts with psychology mainly as a tool. The relationship between technology and psychology is investigated through the following research questions.
- What are the effects of emerging technology on the field of psychology?
- How does technology affect our human behavior?
- How can we control the effects posed by technological advances to save children?
As technology advances in its complexity, so does its scope and application in the practice of psychology. Certain forms of technology posit particular advantages. For instance, Luxton, et al. (2011) discuss the use of smartphones in behavioral healthcare. They point out that smartphone use has grown rapidly, thereby opening up avenues through which healthcare can be delivered. Through the development of smartphone software applications (apps), a variety of services is availed. Smartphones can be used to realize a variety of healthcare goals such as self-assessment by patients, patient monitoring, patient coaching, and psychoeducation (Luxton, McCann, Bush, Mishkind, & Reger, 2011). These goals are achievable because smartphones incorporate a wide variety of tools, such as audio and video recording and messaging, and inbuilt GPS systems. Luxton, et al. (2011) further provide a list of apps that are being used for in behavioral health management. For instance, Behavioral Tracker Pro is an app that can be used to track and graph behavior.
The rudimentary role of technology and the consequent implications for psychology as a discipline is in itself quite invigorating. The more complex interactions between technology and psychology, however, are even more remarkable. Definitively, psychology deals with human behavior and the human mind. Technology, on the other hand, is not only a product of the human mind, but an influence on it as well. Rauterberg (2004) highlights a number of positive effects that technology has on human behavior. One of these impacts is collaboration. Games that require individuals to work together promote collaboration and cooperation. Consequently, Rauterberg (2004) points out that features such as these should be incorporated in video games. Technology can also promote pro-social behavior. Exposing children to pro-social content on TV encourages them to be pro-social and more altruistic.
A technological issue that is particularly pertinent is social media. The use of social media has been pervasive and has permeated human living across all demographic levels. Rosen (2011) studies the impact of a social networking site, Facebook, on kids. He reports a number of positive and negative impacts of the platforms use. Some of the positive effects include the development of self-identity amongst kids, providing an avenue for socialization for shyer children, and improved moods from seeing positive comments online (Rosen, 2011). On the other hand, there are a number of associated negative impacts. They include the development of narcissism amongst heavy Facebook users, as well as the onset of antisocial behaviors, and absenteeism from school. Evidently, there are mixed outcomes on human behavior because of technology.
In light of the multifaceted nature of the impacts of technology on human behavior, the question of what can be done to save kids from negative impacts becomes an imperative consideration. Plowman & McPake (2013) discuss some of the common myths concerning children and technology. They further go on to provide a set of recommendations in light of these myths. They encourage teachers to recognize the different preferences for technology amongst children, appreciate the diverse range of technologies that children are interacting with, and to diversify the view of technological competence beyond operational skills.
The literature review has explored the topic of psychology and technology under three themes, which have been framed as research questions. The first question asked about the effects of emerging technologies on the field of psychology. The literature indicates that the effects are varied and multifaceted. In quite a number of instances, technology serves the rudimentary role of being just a tool. Here, technology is used assistively by professionals. Technology is used to improve the delivery of healthcare, by harnessing the capabilities afforded by items of technology such as smartphones. The advent of mobile software applications (apps) facilitates the development of mobile-handy solutions that enhance the care delivery process. Moreover, other tools such as video and audio can also be used to enhance care. Yet, the interaction between technology and psychology is even more intensive. Glimcher (2014), provides the example of ‘big data’, whereby psychologists can access colossal amounts of data and analyze the same to identify behavioral patterns across required contexts and themes. Big data is further beneficial since psychologists can access data pertaining to a highly diverse population.
Technology not only facilitates psychological inquiry, but further, influences human behavior. Human behavior is at the core of psychology, and it is therefore of interest to investigate exactly how technology moderates human behavior. The influences are varied, yielding both positive and negative outcomes even for the same influencer. For instance, Rosen (2011) finds that Facebook can promote socialization especially for shyer kids. Yet, he also notes Facebook can have detrimental outcomes such as narcissistic and antisocial behaviors. The determinants of the nature of the influence are not quite evident. At the same time, different types of technology can lead to the same influence on human behavior. For instance, Rauterberg (2004) indicates that exposure to prosocial content on television can improve socialization, an outcome which is also realized through Facebook (Rosen, 2011). Technology alters how we interact with the world, and by extension, with each other. It acts as a medium, sometimes opening up new worlds, or what are referred to as virtual worlds (Holloway, Green, & Livingstone, 2013). Holloway, Green, & Livingstone (2013) indicate that children as young as five are interacting within their own virtual worlds where they face the risk of cyberbullying. There are many other risks, which children have to contend with as they interact with technology.
The final research question has investigated the issue of these risks that children face, and what may be done to save them. For kids to have a successful experience using technology, some of the measures highlighted include a recognition of varying preferences amongst kids, and an appreciation of the diverse range of technologies. Holloway, Green, & Livingstone (2013) also indicate that parental education is necessary, particularly in light of the fact that most parents today are establishing a digital presence for their children at a very tender age.
The advances in technology offer the promise of exciting
times ahead for psychological research. This is in terms of both influencing
human behavior, as well as facilitating research in the area. Technologies will
only continue to advance and get more complex. For instance, ongoing research
in virtual reality is bound to alter the manner in which individuals interact.
Already, social communities present new ways for individuals to aggregate. It
will therefore be interesting to investigate how group dynamics operate within
an online platform. Another area of study would be how individuals’ online
experiences and interactions affect their perception of the world around them.
Apart from the investigative inquiries into the impact of technology on human
behavior, an even more exciting area of study is in the design of technology
specifically to influence human behavior. Already, companies appeal to
psychological aspects in their marketing. By understanding how technology can
be construed to influence human behavior, psychologists such as educational
psychologist can be able to develop learning programs and initiatives that will
cater to the cognitive needs of their learners.
Glimcher, P. W. (2014, February). Technology, Psychology, and a Coming Revolution in the Study of Decision Making. Observer, 27(2).
Holloway, D., Green, L., & Livingstone, S. (2013). Zero to eight. Young children and their internet use. LSE, London: EU Kids Online.
Luxton, D. D., McCann, R. A., Bush, N. E., Mishkind, M. C., & Reger, G. M. (2011). mHealth for mental health: Integrating smartphone technology in behavioral healthcare. Professional Psychology: Research and Practice, 42(6), 505-512.
Plowman, L., & McPake, J. (2013). Seven myths about young children and technology. Childhood Education, 89(1), 27-33.
Rauterberg, M. (2004). Positive effects of entertainment technology on human behaviour. Building the Information Society, 51-58.
Rosen, L. D. (2011). Poke me: How social networks can both help and harm our kids. Washington, DC: American Psychological Association .
Terry, L., Mishra, P., Henriksen, D., Wolf, L. G., & Kereluik, K. (2013). The Reciprocal Relationship Between Technology and Psychology. TechTrends, 57(3), 34-39.