The Effect of Information Content and Length on Name Recollection

Asaf Etgar, Ram Friedman, Shaked Haiman, Dana Perez, Dror G. Feitelson

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionpeer-review

3 Scopus citations

Abstract

Memorable function and variable names are useful for developers: they reduce the need to re-check how objects are named when one wants to use them, and they enhance comprehension when encountered when reading code. We look at the possible interplay between the information contained in names and how memorable they are. We show in two independent experiments involving a total of 190 subjects that informative names are usually easier to recollect than similar-length names which contain less focused information. Interestingly, we find that less-experienced and female participants are better at remembering the less informative names. We also find that short names, which are not just abbreviated but actually contain less information, are significantly more memorable. Hence a good choice would be to use the the shortest name that includes the most focused and pertinent information.

Original languageAmerican English
Title of host publicationProceedings - 30th IEEE/ACM International Conference on Program Comprehension, ICPC 2022
PublisherIEEE Computer Society
Pages141-151
Number of pages11
ISBN (Electronic)9781450392983
DOIs
StatePublished - 2022
Event30th IEEE/ACM International Conference on Program Comprehension, ICPC 2022 - Pittsburgh, United States
Duration: 16 May 202217 May 2022

Publication series

NameIEEE International Conference on Program Comprehension
Volume2022-March

Conference

Conference30th IEEE/ACM International Conference on Program Comprehension, ICPC 2022
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CityPittsburgh
Period16/05/2217/05/22

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022 ACM.

Keywords

  • Variable names
  • code comprehension
  • function names
  • name recollection

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