Cyber Health Psychology: The use of new technologies at the service of psychological well being and health empowerment

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Pasquale Caponnetto *
Michele Milazzo
(*) Corresponding Author:
Pasquale Caponnetto | pcapon@unict.it

Abstract

Man and technology seem to co-evolve into a process of reciprocal conditioning. On the one hand, the man modifies (and evolves) the technology according to his needs, on the other the technology revolutionates the man and the way in which it lives. Psychology, therefore, as a discipline afferent to the human sciences, is called to take an interest in this relationship and to understand its complexity. A fundamental role in this sense is covered by “cyberpsychology” which investigates all those psychological phenomena that are associated with technology and aims to analyse the processes of change triggered by the interaction between man and the new media. From the psychological point of view, if on the one hand it is important to understand how man changes in contact with the new technologies and to what problems he is meeting. On the other hand, there is a need to understand how new technologies, given their transformative potential, can find a place within the therapeutic practice. In this regard, some of the technologies used in the clinical field have been analysed including: virtual reality, biosensors, artificial intelligence and affective computing. With the aim of understanding to what extent and how technological progress and the emergence of new technologies can contribute and generate value within the psychological panorama. Following the PRISMA statement a bibliographic research was carried out, which provided for consultation of the Medline and PsycINFO databases. The criteria according to which works have been selected rather than others refer to their precision and sensitivity with which they propose to treat technological applications in the field of health psychology and from this the emergence of the new theme “CYBER HEALTH PSYCHOLOGY”. The results of the research suggest that the integrated use of psychological techniques and new technologies is extremely productive in terms of potential improvement of health and therefore of “health empowerment”. In this vision, new technologies are not intended to replace traditional procedures but to integrate them by making available features and potential that man does not have in nature. Given the great potential of the instruments analyzed that still today continue to evolve and refine it is advisable to know them, validate their effectiveness and adapt our operational models to new realities.

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