University of Oulu

R. Mohanani, I. Salman, B. Turhan, P. Rodríguez and P. Ralph, "Cognitive Biases in Software Engineering: A Systematic Mapping Study," in IEEE Transactions on Software Engineering, vol. 46, no. 12, pp. 1318-1339, 1 Dec. 2020, doi: 10.1109/TSE.2018.2877759

Cognitive biases in software engineering : a systematic mapping study

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Author: Mohanani, Rahul1; Salman, Iflaah1; Turhan, Burak2;
Organizations: 1M3S Group, University of Oulu, Finland
2Faculty of Information Technology, Monash University, Melbourne, Victoria Australia
3Department of Computer Science, University of Auckland, 1415 Auckland, Auckland New Zealand
Format: article
Version: accepted version
Access: open
Online Access: PDF Full Text (PDF, 5.8 MB)
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Language: English
Published: Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, 2018
Publish Date: 2018-10-26


One source of software project challenges and failures is the systematic errors introduced by human cognitive biases. Although extensively explored in cognitive psychology, investigations concerning cognitive biases have only recently gained popularity in software engineering research. This paper therefore systematically maps, aggregates and synthesizes the literature on cognitive biases in software engineering to generate a comprehensive body of knowledge, understand state of the art research and provide guidelines for future research and practise. Focusing on bias antecedents, effects and mitigation techniques, we identified 65 articles (published between 1990 and 2016), which investigate 37 cognitive biases. Despite strong and increasing interest, the results reveal a scarcity of research on mitigation techniques and poor theoretical foundations in understanding and interpreting cognitive biases. Although bias-related research has generated many new insights in the software engineering community, specific bias mitigation techniques are still needed for software professionals to overcome the deleterious effects of cognitive biases on their work.

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Series: IEEE transactions on software engineering
ISSN: 0098-5589
ISSN-E: 1939-3520
ISSN-L: 0098-5589
Volume: 46
Issue: 12
Pages: 1318 - 1339
DOI: 10.1109/TSE.2018.2877759
Type of Publication: A2 Review article in a scientific journal
Field of Science: 113 Computer and information sciences
Funding: This study was supported in part by the Infotech Oulu Doctoral grant at University of Oulu to Rahul Mohanani and Iflaah Salman.
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