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Scientists Decode Neural Mechanisms of Computer Programming

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Brain activity.

Johns Hopkins University scientists mapped the brain activity of expert computer programmers while they puzzled over code, to find the neural mechanics behind this increasingly vital skill.

Credit: Naeblys/

Johns Hopkins University (JHU) scientists mapped computer programmers' brain activity during coding exercises to uncover the underlying neural processes.

JHU's Yun-Fei Liu scanned the brain activity of 15 experienced programmers skilled in Python via functional magnetic resonance imaging, as they worked on coding questions.

The exercise activated the brain region responsible for logical reasoning in each participant, with coding largely skewing to the left hemisphere, which correlates with language.

The JHU researchers hope to determine if programming, like learning language, is easier for young people.

JHU's Marina Bedny said, "It could be that our education system is wrong, and we should be teaching kids to code in middle school or else they're missing an opportunity to be the best they can."

From: News-Medical Life Sciences
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