Human-Computer Interaction: Ergonomics and User Interfaces - Vol. 1

By Hans-Jörg Bullinger; Jürgen Ziegler | Go to book overview
Save to active project

Expertise in computer programming: Exploring
commonalities between code comprehension
and generation activities

Simon P. Davies
Department of Psychology
University of Hull, Cottingham Road,
Hull, HU6 7RX, UK


This paper reports an experiment on the comprehension of computer programs viewed through a limited access window by novice and expert programmers. The intention of the study was to explore the role played by the external environment in mediating the cognitive processes involved in computer programming.

Previous work by the author Davies ( 1993) using a text editor which only allowed movement between adjacent lines in a program, hence enforcing a strict linear generation strategy, showed that this device restriction can systematically affect error patterns and solution times in a code generation activity. Moreover, this effect was more marked for experts than for novices, suggesting potential disruption to 'normal' problem solving strategies.

This finding may be explained in terms of display-based competence ( Larkin, 1989). Models of display-based competence suggest that part of the process of becoming an expert involves developing strategies which lead to extensive extemalisation behaviour ( Davies, 1996; Green et al, 1987) where information is output to some external source, rather than rely upon working memory. In contrast, novices appear to extemalise little and their comprehension, whilst


Notes for this page

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
Loading One moment ...
Project items
Cite this page

Cited page

Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited page

Bookmark this page
Human-Computer Interaction: Ergonomics and User Interfaces - Vol. 1
Table of contents

Table of contents



Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this book

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

While we understand printed pages are helpful to our users, this limitation is necessary to help protect our publishers' copyrighted material and prevent its unlawful distribution. We are sorry for any inconvenience.
Full screen
/ 1356

matching results for page

Cited passage

Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.

Are you sure you want to delete this highlight?