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Stroop effect in dense reference material (was RE: Is there a term for this?
Subject:Stroop effect in dense reference material (was RE: Is there a term for this? From:"McLauchlan, Kevin" <Kevin -dot- McLauchlan -at- safenet-inc -dot- com> To:Gene Kim-Eng <techwr -at- genek -dot- com>, Joe Weinmunson <litlfrog -at- gmail -dot- com> Date:Mon, 6 Feb 2012 16:14:06 -0500
I wonder if that effect might be part of the reason why,
for example, egregious errors appear and persist in software.
On the one hand, programmers are dealing with thousands of
lines of text, bursting with identical and similar strings,
and endless variants on what they've been staring at all
day, week, month.
At the same time, since programming is one of the last
bastions of rugged whatever-ism, programmers insist,
and writers insist on agreeing with them, that their
reference works and tutorials and examples be as terse
and bland as possible.
Looking up exactly the item that you know you need is
trivial in a programmers reference manual. Looking up
exactly the item you're not quite sure you need... is
painfully not trivial, when so much of what surrounds
the bit of info you seek looks so much like it, and
like every other bit of info on neighboring pages and
"I'm sure the function I need is here - I'll know it
when I see it." "If I actually see it, when my dry,
tired eyes roll over it." "And back." "And over, and
back." "And ov...zzzzzz".
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