Programmers, the hero’s of our succesful society: Does learning how to program improve analytical thinking?

Programmers, the hero’s of our succesful society: Does learning how to program improve analytical thinking?

What makes our current society so successful?

One could come up with a lot of things, but if we had to choose 1 thing that has a undeniable influence on our successful society, we would say: Software!

In our digital world, almost everything depends on software. Unfortunately, software does not come in to being by itself. It is written by programming language (using codes). These codes are written by programmers. In fact, they are the creators of our digital society. But what does it take to be a good programmer? Previous research has shown that a lot of programmers are good analytical thinkers. It’s important to get to know the cognitive basis of programming because one could use this knowledge for training programmers. If you want to turn someone into a good programmer, maybe you should focus on analytical thinking related courses during the training. This would then probably shape them in highly effective programmers.

Our Research:
To gain more knowledge about the cognitive basis of programming, we are conducting a study in which we are looking at the effect of programming experience on text comprehension. We will provide the participants (people with no experience in programming or experienced programmers) with a text which can take up 2 forms:

Text written in a ”normal/natural” way


Text written in a ”programming code” way.

After each text we will provide them with a multiple choice question about the text. These questions can also take up 2 forms:

Analytical questions: the participant has to look at a specific place whitin the text (kind of a problem within a problem task)


Holistic questions: where the participant has to be more creative.

For every question we measure the response time. We expect that experienced programmers are quicker in the ”programming code” text and the analytical question. For the non-experienced programmers we expect them to be quicker for the ”normal” written text and the more holistic question.

If this would be the case, than this result fits the idea that experience in programming improves ones analytical thinking.

Already curious about the cognitive basis of our digital society heroes?

(sub) Group 42: Austeja Kulbokaite, Klara Beiling , Ruben Keuzenkamp

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