Teaching Variability Engineering to Cognitive Psychologists

Published in: Proceeding SPLC ‘14 

Author: Christoph Seidl and Irena Domachowska (Technische Universität Dresden, Dresden, Germany)

Proceedings of the 18th International Software Product Line Conference: Companion Volume for Workshops, Demonstrations and Tools - Volume 2

Pages 16-23 Florence, Italy — September 15 - 19, 2014

Abstract: In research of cognitive psychology, experiments to measure cognitive processes may be run in many similar yet slightly different configurations. Variability engineering offers techniques to handle variable configurations both conceptually and technically. However, these techniques are largely unknown to cognitive psychologists so that experiment configurations are specified informally or too coarse grain. This is problematic, because it becomes difficult to get an overview of paradigm configurations used in the so far conducted experiments. Variability engineering techniques provide, i.a., concise notations for capturing variability in software and can also be used to express the configurable nature of a wide range of experiments in cognitive psychology. Furthermore, it enables cognitive psychologists to structure configuration knowledge, to identify suitably similar experiment setups and to more efficiently identify individual configuration options as relevant reasons for a particular effect in the outcome of an experiment. In this paper, we present experiences with teaching variability engineering to cognitive psychologists along with a suitable curriculum.