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Title: Do moods affect programmers' debug performance?
Authors: Khan, IA
Brinkman, W-P
Hierons, RM
Keywords: Programmers;Moods;Emotions;Performance;Coding and debugging
Issue Date: 2011
Publisher: Springer
Citation: Cognition, Technology & Work, 13(4): pp. 245 - 258, (2011)
Abstract: There is much research that shows people’s mood can affect their activities. This paper argues that this also applies to programmers, especially their debugging. Literature-based framework is presented linking programming with various cognitive activities as well as linking cognitive activities with moods. Further, the effect of mood on debugging was tested in two experiments. In the first experiment, programmers (n = 72) saw short movie clips selected for their ability to provoke specific moods. Afterward, they completed a debugging test. Results showed the video clips had a significant effect on programmers’ debugging performance; especially, there was a significant difference after watching low- and high-arousal-evoking video clips. In the second experiment, programmers’ mood was manipulated by asking participants (n = 19) to dry run algorithms for at least 16 min. They performed some physical exercises before continuing dry running algorithms again. The results showed a significant increase in arousal and valence that coincided with an improvement in programmers’ task performance after the physical exercises. Together, this suggests that programmers’ moods influence some programming tasks such as debugging.
ISSN: 1435-5558
Appears in Collections:Dept of Computer Science Research Papers

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