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Using Sex Differences to Link Spatial Cognition and Program Comprehension

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3 Author(s)
Fisher, M. ; Dept. of Psychol., Saint Mary''s Univ., Halifax, NS ; Cox, A. ; Lin Zhao

Spatial cognition and program development have both been examined using contrasting models. We suggest that sex-based differences in one's perception of risk is the key to relating these models. Specifically, the survey map approach to navigation and the top-down development/comprehension strategy use similar and related high risk cognitive skills that males show a preference towards. Conversely, the route-based approach to navigation and the bottom-up development/comprehension strategy use similar and related low risk cognitive skills that women show a preference towards. On the assumption that programmers are consistent in their risk-taking behaviours, we believe that they, as much as possible, tend to use the same strategy when performing program development and comprehension. In an experimental setting, we compare programmer's performance on spatial cognition and program comprehension tasks. The correlations that we found suggest that programmers use equivalently risky strategies for program comprehension and spatial cognition. Thus, there is evidence that similar cognitive skills are used for spatial cognition and program comprehension/development, and that the similarities are a consequence of sex-based differences in risk-taking behaviour

Published in:

Software Maintenance, 2006. ICSM '06. 22nd IEEE International Conference on

Date of Conference:

24-27 Sept. 2006

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