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Psychology of Programming


Admission requirements

Not applicable.


Psychology of Programming centers around the question what happens in your brain when you program. What makes a piece of code hard to understand, and why are some languages easier to learn than other languages? What even is a programming languages and how to design a programming language so that it is easier to use?
This course explains the basics of psychology knowledge needed to reason about programming language design and the basics of associated research methods.

The course has weekly (ungraded) homework assignments and is closed with a written exam.

Check out the teaser for Psychology of Programming.

Course objectives

  • Examining a broad range of different programming languages and their components;

  • Understanding the role that different parts of your brain play when reading and writing code;

  • Understanding the role programming languages play in thinking about programming;

  • Being able to apply a broad range of research methods to examine the design of programming languages.


The most recent timetable can be found on the students' website.

Mode of instruction

Lectures, homework exercises and an exam.

Course Load

Hours of study: 168 hrs. (= 6 EC)
Lectures: 30 hrs.
Lecture preparation/weekly homework: 108 hrs.
Exam preparation: 30 hrs.

Assessment method

Final grade is determined by a written exam.

The teacher will inform the students how the inspection of and follow-up discussion of the exams will take place.

Reading list


  • You have to sign up for courses and exams (including retakes) in uSis. Check this link for information about how to register for courses.

  • Due to limited capacity, external students can only register after consultation with the programme coordinator/study advisor (


Lecturers: F.F.J. Hermans.

Dr. Sahiba Yeni