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Learning better series

🧠 💻 The Programmer’s Brain: 3 types of confusion when you’re learning a new tech

By December 26, 2021January 21st, 2022No Comments

The book is here It is highly recommended. If you have a background in neuroscience, you will enjoy it a lot!

The programmer’s brain 🧠 

  1. When learning learn to recognize your confusion. Knowing what type of confusion you are facing can help you. There are 3 types of confusion:

1. Lack of knowledge

  1. Complete lack of knowledge in a specific domain so lacking domain specific knowledge. This is caused be lack of domain knowledge in your LTM

2. Lack of information

  1. Lack of information on a certain method for example you know what methods are and how to use them but you might be lacking information on a certain method inappropriate a code snippet for example toString()
  2. Code nowadays uses packages, modules etc so you might not have complete in-depth knowledge of all
  3. This is caused by lack of information in your STM

3. Lack of processing power

  1. Hard to hold all info in your STM at the same time so might make it hard to follow along and process
  2. This is caused by an issue in your working memory
  3. Working memory is the small amount of information that can be held in mind and used in the execution of cognitive tasks,
  4. It holds new information in place so the brain can work with it briefly and connect it with other information.

LTM: Long Term Memory

  1. First cognitive process that you rely on when coding
  2. Holds facts and info for a long time. address and
  3. For example knowledge about what a variable is or what a certain keyword means is stored here

STM: Short Term Memory

  1. Second cognitive process that you rely on when coding
  2. It holds information briefly as it comes into your brain this is the memory that is first activated when you read code
  3. For example someone telling you their phone number is held briefly in your STM and unless you actively memorize it and put it into your LTM the information is forgotten because the STM has a very limited size and can only hold. 2-6 things
  4. For example public static void main (int n) here your STM holds the fact that n refers to an integer and you continue working
  5. The STM holds info like what the name of a certain method is or a variable name
  6. LTM and STM work together

Working memory

  1. Third cognitive process that you use when coding
  2. This is where the actual thinking happens
  3. So this is where you come up with solutions, thoughts and ideas
  4. When you’re reading code you’re trying to figure out what’s happening and you’re mentally trying to execute the code this is called tracing
  5. Tracing is the mental compiling and execution of code
  6. For example when writing some code you might be figuring out how to filter names of customers starting with the letter “a” or deciding an index is too low

The 3 types of memories interact with each other and work together

  1. All 3 cognitive processes are involved when you are thinking or doing any task
  2. So if you read that a variable name or parameter is “n” your brain searches it’s LTM for knowledge, and if you don’t know what it means your workiing memory will try and figure it out. If you know what it means you will store this letter n in your STM while you work through the code.

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