Expert programmers have fine-tuned cortical representations of source code [article]

Yoshiharu Ikutani, Takatomi Kubo, Satoshi Nishida, Hideaki Hata, Kenichi Matsumoto, Kazushi Ikeda, Shinji Nishimoto
2020 bioRxiv   pre-print
Expertise enables humans to achieve outstanding performance on domain-specific tasks, and programming is no exception. Many have shown that expert programmers exhibit remarkable differences from novices in behavioral performance, knowledge structure, and selective attention.However, the underlying differences in the brain are still unclear. We here address this issue by associating the cortical representation of source code with individual programming expertise using a data-driven decoding
more » ... ach. This approach enabled us to identify seven brain regions, widely distributed in the frontal, parietal, and temporal cortices, that have a tight relationship with programming expertise. In these brain regions, functional categories of source code could be decoded from brain activity and the decoding accuracies were significantly correlated with individual behavioral performances on source-code categorization. Our results suggest that programming expertise is built up on fine-tuned cortical representations specialized for the domain of programming.
doi:10.1101/2020.01.28.923953 fatcat:6ua7hwim7vblfam3o6da56o3aq