To the brain, reading computer code is not the same as reading language (2020)

Learning to program is like learning a new language, requiring the organization of symbols and terms to instruct a computer correctly. However, MIT neuroscientists found that reading computer code doesn’t activate language processing brain regions but instead activates a network used for complex tasks like math. The brain activity patterns for code don’t overlap with language, raising questions about brain functions involved in coding. The study focused on Python and ScratchJr programming languages and concluded that coding tasks primarily activate the multiple demand network, suggesting that teaching code effectively may require a unique approach. The research was funded by the NSF, MIT, and the McGovern Institute.

To top