Cracking the code: the neural basis of computer code comprehension

By Science Rehashed Inc.

Have you ever wondered whether the brains of computer programmers are wired differently? Are there specific parts of the brain that are dedicated to computer coding? Scientists have outlined other networks in the brain, like those involved in language, but the neural basis of computer code comprehension has remained a mystery. We might call Python, Java, and C++ programming “languages,” but are they represented in the brain in the same way as natural languages? Anna Ivanova, a scientist at MIT’s Department of Brain and Cognitive Sciences, chats with us to uncover the answer. Her research uses functional MRI to find the areas in the brain most activated by reading computer code and whether they overlap with those activated by reading natural language. We also discuss the history of coding and the possibility that humans could evolve a brain network solely responsible for computer programming. Music by Kevin MacLeod licensed under CC BY 4.0

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