A Cognitive Processing Perspective on Student Programmers' 'Graphicacy'

Cox, Richard, Romero, Pablo, du Boulay, Benedict and Lutz, Rudi (2004) A Cognitive Processing Perspective on Student Programmers' 'Graphicacy'. In: Blackwell, Alan, Marriott, Kim and Shimojima, Atsushi (eds.) Proceedings of Diagrammatic Representation and Inference, Third International Conference, Diagrams 2004, Cambridge, UK. Lecture Notes in Computer Science (LNCS), 2980 . Springer, pp. 37-46. ISBN 9783540212683

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Abstract

The 'graphicacy' of student programmers was investigated using several cognitive tasks designed to assess ER knowledge representation at the perceptual, semantic and output levels of the cognitive system. A large corpus of external representations (ERs) was used as stimuli. The question lsquoHow domain-specific is the ER knowledge of programmers?rsquo was addressed. Results showed that performance for programming-specific ER forms was equal to or slightly better than performance for non-specific ERs on the decision, naming and functional knowledge tasks, but not the categorisation task. Surprisingly, tree and network diagrams were particularly poorly named and categorised. Across the ER tasks, performance was found to be highest for textual ERs, lists, maps and notations (more ubiquitous, lsquoeverydayrsquo ER forms). Decision task performance was generally good across ER types indicating that participants were able to recognise the visual form of a wide range of ERs at a perceptual level. In general, the patterns of performance seem to be consistent with those described for the cognitive processing of visual objects.

Item Type: Book Section
Schools and Departments: School of Engineering and Informatics > Informatics
Subjects: Q Science > QA Mathematics > QA0076 Computer software
Depositing User: Ben duBoulay
Date Deposited: 12 Oct 2006
Last Modified: 30 Nov 2012 16:49
URI: http://sro.sussex.ac.uk/id/eprint/391
Google Scholar:7 Citations

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