: Thomas Fritz, Andrew BegelVenue
: International Conference on Software EngineeringDate
: 2014Type of Experiement
: Controlled ExperimentSample Size
: 15Class/Experience Level
: ProfessionalParticipant Selection
: lived in the greater Seattle, WA, interest in participating in user studies at microsoft, 2 years of software experience, knew C#, no bifocal glassesData Collection Method
: Observation, Survey
Simple mistakes are often made by Software Engineers. This study introduces a new idea: stop the programmers before they get a chance to make those mistakes. It investigates an approach to classify the difficulty of code comprehension tasks using data from psycho-physiological sensors.
Psycho-physiological measures such as the eyes, brain, and skin, have been explored and linked to psychological, and specifically cognitive, processes and states. A brief overview of the process of the study was a pre-questionnaire, a series of tasks using external support tracking software, and a post test questionnaire. These tasks were short (several minutes) code comprehension tasks.
In conclusion, this study shows that a tool can detect when a new participant will perceive his tasks to be difficult with a precision of over 70% and a recall over 62%. Now that this shown to be feasible, researchers have the opportunity to develop new programming support tools, allowing them to potentially intervene in time to stop bugs from entering the code.