Victus Spiritus


Stress makes programmers dumber?

12 Apr 2009

That's the hypothesis put forth by Alan G. Carter in a brilliant web series found at "The Programmer's Stone".  It begins as a critical examination of the effect of stress on creative solution finding.  What the author refers to as juxtapositional thinking is a method of holding multiple opposing proposed solutions in one's mind at the same time.  This type of advanced conceptual problem solving forms the basis of effective and intelligent design, programming or otherwise.  Discover how our body's response to stress is to focus on frontal lobe thinking which is predictable and methodical but highly concentrated.  The Programmer's Stone continues by suggesting solutions addressing the issue of stress for individuals and organizations.  In addition to mitigating the effect, techniques for inducing advanced cognitive states are given for those who are stuck in procedural or stressed mental conditions.  Some of the ideas are fairly advanced (to readers like myself who are new to the concept) so the brief but dense series may require a careful (re)read and time to digest.

Some of my own thoughts to add to the topic:

Need more reasons to stay clear of stress in the workplace?  How about because

A related article, Tough Choices: How Making Decisions Tires Your Brain discusses how sequential thought processes can affect decision making quality.  It goes on to explain how the exhaustion of the executive decision making process of the brain can negatively effect later decision making.