How Programming Affects Your Brain: 3 Big Truths According to Science

It’s true: programmers think differently than everyone else.

Not to say that programmers are necessarily smarter, more logical, or more rational than everyone else, as is commonly said. But scientists have recently started studying the brains of programmers and have come to some interesting conclusions.Computer Science Computer Science Computer Science Computer Science Computer Science

Just as artistry can shape your mind in various ways, programming also impacts how you think—perhaps in ways you may not have expected.

1. Coding Shapes Your Mental Models

Does it matter which programming language you learn first? Yes!

This seems a bit unfair, doesn’t it? After all, most of us get our first taste of programming in school, and we don’t get to choose which language gets thrust upon us. I started with C. Those older than me likely started with FORTRAN, COBOL, or BASIC. As for you newer folks? You likely started on Java or Python.Computer Science Computer Science Computer Science Computer Science Computer Science

“The tools we use have a profound (and devious) influence on our thinking habits, and, therefore, on our thinking abilities.”

He then went on to say:

“The use of COBOL cripples the mind; its teaching should, therefore, be regarded as a criminal offence.”

And:

“It is practically impossible to teach good programming to students that have had a prior exposure to BASIC: as potential programmers they are mentally mutilated beyond hope of regeneration.”

Ouch.

In one sense, all programming languages are equally capable in that they’re all Turing-complete. But in another sense, mastery of one language can lead to ruin in another language. Java programmers and Python programmers are two different beasts who approach coding in two completely different ways.

Prev1 of 6Next

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *