Quantifying programmers' mental workload during program comprehension based on cerebral blood flow measurement: A controlled experiment

Takao Nakagawa, Yasutaka Kamei, Hidetake Uwano, Akito Monden, Kenichi Matsumoto, Daniel M. German

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

30 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Program comprehension is a fundamental activity in software development that cannot be easily measured, as it is performed inside the human brain. Using a wearable Near Infra-red Spectroscopy (NIRS) device to measure cerebral blood flow, this paper tries to answer the question: Can the measurement of brain blood-flow quantify programmers' mental workload during program comprehension activities? We performed a controlled experiment with 10 subjects; 8 of them showed high cerebral blood flow while understanding strongly obfuscated programs (requiring high mental workload). This suggests the possibility of using NIRS to measure the mental workload of a person during software development activities.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publication36th International Conference on Software Engineering, ICSE Companion 2014 - Proceedings
PublisherAssociation for Computing Machinery
Pages448-451
Number of pages4
ISBN (Print)9781450327688
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jan 1 2014
Event36th International Conference on Software Engineering, ICSE 2014 - Hyderabad, India
Duration: May 31 2014Jun 7 2014

Publication series

Name36th International Conference on Software Engineering, ICSE Companion 2014 - Proceedings

Other

Other36th International Conference on Software Engineering, ICSE 2014
CountryIndia
CityHyderabad
Period5/31/146/7/14

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Software

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