MIT's Newest fMRI Study: 'This is Your Brain on Code'
What the group wanted to find out was whether the brain signals seen in their study when participants were examining pieces of code resembled the patterns of activation observed when neural networks analyzed the same piece of code. And the answer they arrived at was a qualified yes. "If you put a piece of code into the neural network, it produces a list of numbers that tells you, in some way, what the program is all about," Srikant says. Brain scans of people studying computer programs similarly produce a list of numbers. When a program is dominated by branching, for example, "you see a distinct pattern of brain activity," he adds, "and you see a similar pattern when the machine learning model tries to understand that same snippet."