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How do programmers think?

If you want to know how programmers think, you’ll have to look at their brain activities when they analyze program code. Sounds like a crazy idea? Well, that’s exactly what a team of scientists did. And they found some interesting results. One of them is that programmers activate those brain areas that are related to language processing when trying to comprehend program code. What about those areas of the brain that handle mathematical and abstract things that are typically associated with programming? Turns out that these are not involved, which is obviously contrary to the believe that programming is an abstract mathematical process happening in the brain.

However, if you think for a minute how programmers talk about their code this sounds not so crazy after all. They use adjectives like clear or beautiful to describe their code and sound more like poets praising a poem. Obviously much more research needs to be conducted, but maybe Dijkstra was right specuatling that good programmers need to have a good education in natural languages.

Link: https://cacm.acm.org/magazines/2020/6/245156-studying-programming-in-the-neuroage/fulltext

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