Biofeedback augmented software engineering: monitoring of programmers' mental effort
This paper presents emergent experimental results showing that mental effort of programmers in code understanding tasks can be monitored through HRV (heart rate variability) using non-intrusive wearable devices. Results suggest that HRV is a good predictor for cognitive load when analyzing code and HRV results are consistent with the mental effort perceived by programmers using NASA-TLX. Furthermore, code complexity metrics do not correlate entirely with mental effort and do not seem a good indicator of the subjective perception of complexity felt by programmers. These first results are presented in the context of the project BASE-Biofeedback Augmented Software Engineering, which is briefly sketched, and proposes a radical neuroscience enabled approach to introduce biofeedback in software development.