University of Oulu

Psychophysiological measurements in programming task : guidelines for conducting EMG research

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Author: Rantanen, Mikko1
Organizations: 1University of Oulu, Faculty of Information Technology and Electrical Engineering, Department of Information Processing Science, Information Processing Science
Format: ebook
Version: published version
Access: open
Online Access: PDF Full Text (PDF, 2.2 MB)
Pages: 78
Persistent link:
Language: English
Published: Oulu : M. Rantanen, 2019
Publish Date: 2019-11-15
Thesis type: Master's thesis
Tutor: Rajanen, Mikko
Reviewer: Rajanen, Mikko
Iivari, Netta


Programming languages have been studied and developed throughout history of programming. There are lots of different programming languages that are being used in software development, but only core languages are taught in Universities. Programming languages usually have their own syntax, which may differ greatly from each other. Using different programming languages for same task may provoke different emotions in programmers, depending their knowledge on the language.

Research on programming and programming languages have generally focused on technical and exterior aspects. More recently, there has been some research on the programmers and their emotions during the programming tasks. This master’s thesis focuses on latter and aims to provide new information of programmers experienced emotions during the programming tasks by using EMG-recordings. This master thesis’ main study focus is in psychophysiology, which combines psychology to physiological research, by finding correlation between physiological activity and emotional phenomenon.

This study assessed university students experienced emotions when conducting programming tasks with C and Python programming languages. EMG measurement device was used on the test participants to record signal data from facial based muscles for smiling and frowning activity, which are linked to positive and negative emotions.

This study’s results showed small differences with emotional experiences during the programming tasks, but the overall results were not statistically significant. Therefore, more research on this topic is needed for more consistent results. Additionally, this research has provided guidelines on how EMG studies are conducted on laboratory setting and suggestions for future studies.

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Copyright information: © Mikko Rantanen, 2019. This publication is copyrighted. You may download, display and print it for your own personal use. Commercial use is prohibited.