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Michael Lobman
Michael Lobman

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Learning to Code and Thought Processes in the Brain

A few months ago, I began my coding journey...

I hope you can remember the beginning of your personal coding journey. If it was anything like mine, it involved many late nights, online tutorials, the thrill of seeing no errors in the console, and the frustration of seeing many errors in the console.

I expected the highs and the lows.

I did not, however, expect to begin thinking in terms of JavaScript functions.

It first hit me when I woke up in the middle of the night, trying to remember if I had locked the door. In the past, my attempts to recall had been rooted in trying to retrieve specific memories: "Did I leave my keys in the door?" / "Did I even leave the house today?"

But that fateful night, my groggy mind used another procedure to ascertain the door's state...

A function.

Something like this:

Coding in a tired mind

Admittedly, the function is neither elegant nor useful, but it illustrated to me how quickly programming alters the pathways in our minds.

The next morning, I found this article by Jill Rosen detailing a Johns Hopkins study that used fMRI scans to monitor the activity in programmers' minds as they read code.

Though researchers have long suspected the brain mechanism for computer programming would be similar to that for math or even language, this study revealed that when seasoned coders work, most brain activity happens in the network responsible for logical reasoning, though in the left brain region, which is favored by language.

This is consistent with MIT scientists' findings as reported by Anne Trafton.

Programming brain activity does not conform to those consistent with math or language but rather activates the multiple-demand network, which is associated with complex problem-solving- not unlike figuring out if your door is locked at 3:00AM...

Happy coding.

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