Javascript: Head or Gut Essay

Submitted By khap0w
Words: 1021
Pages: 5

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Head or Gut?!
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In this presentation, I learned the psychology behind the works of computer

programming, while learning simple pros and cons of Javascript. Douglas Crockford introduces the “behind the scenes” thought process of the human brain when performing computations.
Crockford states that there are two systems in the brain: the head and the gut. He explains that the head performs analytical reasoning, while the gut acts more from instinct. He says that the mind is a very slow computational machine, and therefore, humans have created programs to help it calculate or analyze rapidly. On the other hand, the gut acts swiftly from the flight or fight response. The fight or flight response is one that shows that the human body, and the body of most other animals, has an instinctive response that acts before the mind is conscious of it’s actions. For example, touching a hot pan would cause a reaction that our brain does not process, but an instinct that our muscle produces to make our hand move away form the hot pan. Another example is when something gets close to our eyes. We instinctively “flight” by blinking, yet we are not consciously telling ourselves to blink. I do agree with Crockford’s assessment of how programming uses both the head and the gut. I believe that we cannot simply use one without the other. There are several ways to code a program, such as: bottomup or top-down, but like the advertising industry, it takes gut to choose which one to use. !
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Although I completely agree with Crockford, I am skeptical of which of the two brain

systems weighs heavier than the other, in terms of influence on computer programming. I am just a novice in programming, so I personally use more analytical thinking to learn the computer language first. So far, when I am in class, or doing the homework, I think about how to do something directly from what I have seen from the book or from lectures. Very rarely have I used my own intuition, or gut, to choose which option to take when it came to coding. The head seems to be influencing my computer-coding decisions presently, but there are still instances

where the gut plays a roll in my programming. Because I am a beginner, most of the coding is basic enough that there is only one answer. Sometimes, there are problems that can be approached at several different ways even if it does just have one single answer. In addition, some problems can vary in syntax, but still have the right answer. This occasions causes me to use my gut to choose which input to use and at a certain sequence. An example is the simple for loop. Consider “for( var i = 0; i < 10; i++ )” which is a for loop that counts from 0-9. When using this in a command in coding, one could switch out numbers to perform similar tasks. !
I am mostly using my head in this part of my career as a programmer, but it is likely that I will have to move on to use my gut to create things and solve computational puzzles. The statement “Because the head does most of the ‘deep thinking’, it is more useful in programming practice than the gut.” is very debatable. Crockford says that both the head and the gut has its tradeoffs. The head at times is very slow and requires assistance from machines, like a calculator, to help create an answer. The gut, sometimes misinterprets amounts. For example, the gut thinks “a lot” is greater than “all”, or that “not very much” is equal to “never”. Crockford says that the advertising business is the expert at studying the gut. He states that they learned how to fool people into purchasing their nonessential items. This shows that gut can be a quick,
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