"Chunking" — from Vessey

Posted in programmer productivity at 9:37 am by ducky

From Iris Vessey’s Expertise in Debugging Computer Programs: An Analysis of the Content of Verbal Protocols Systems:

“Experts have more and/or larger knowledge structures in long-term memory, which they build up by the process of chunking. … Chunking refers to the concept whereby humans can effectively increase the capacity of short-term memory by grouping related items into a “chunk,” storing the chunk in long-term memory and the pointer to the chunk in short-term memory. For example, most of us would store KBD as three chunks, while we would store CAT as one since we perceive it as a unit, i.e., as an animal. (See Simon [39].) The importance of knowledge structures to expertise was first established by de Groot [46] and Chase and Simon [22] in their studies of expert and novice chess players. This work has since been replicated in the programming domain by Shneiderman [47] and McKeithen et al. [48].”

This sounds to me like an excellent reason to read Design Patterns.

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