Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: https://hdl.handle.net/10316/105462
Title: Can EEG Be Adopted as a Neuroscience Reference for Assessing Software Programmers' Cognitive Load?
Authors: Medeiros, Júlio 
Couceiro, Ricardo 
Duarte, Gonçalo 
Durães, João 
Castelhano, João 
Duarte, Catarina 
Castelo-Branco, Miguel 
Madeira, Henrique 
Carvalho, Paulo de 
Teixeira, César 
Keywords: software engineering; bio-signal processing; electroencephalogram; biofeedback; human error
Issue Date: 27-Mar-2021
Publisher: MDPI
Serial title, monograph or event: Sensors
Volume: 21
Issue: 7
Abstract: An emergent research area in software engineering and software reliability is the use of wearable biosensors to monitor the cognitive state of software developers during software development tasks. The goal is to gather physiologic manifestations that can be linked to error-prone scenarios related to programmers' cognitive states. In this paper we investigate whether electroencephalography (EEG) can be applied to accurately identify programmers' cognitive load associated with the comprehension of code with different complexity levels. Therefore, a controlled experiment involving 26 programmers was carried. We found that features related to Theta, Alpha, and Beta brain waves have the highest discriminative power, allowing the identification of code lines and demanding higher mental effort. The EEG results reveal evidence of mental effort saturation as code complexity increases. Conversely, the classic software complexity metrics do not accurately represent the mental effort involved in code comprehension. Finally, EEG is proposed as a reference, in particular, the combination of EEG with eye tracking information allows for an accurate identification of code lines that correspond to peaks of cognitive load, providing a reference to help in the future evaluation of the space and time accuracy of programmers' cognitive state monitored using wearable devices compatible with software development activities.
URI: https://hdl.handle.net/10316/105462
ISSN: 1424-8220
DOI: 10.3390/s21072338
Rights: openAccess
Appears in Collections:I&D CISUC - Artigos em Revistas Internacionais
I&D ICNAS - Artigos em Revistas Internacionais
I&D CIBIT - Artigos em Revistas Internacionais

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