When intuition and logic clash: The case of the object-oriented paradigm

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This paper presents difficulties illustrated by software development practitioners with regard to the use and understanding of concepts and principles of the object-oriented paradigm. In order to understand these difficulties and the sources from which they stem, a theoretical framework borrowed from cognitive psychology, called the dual-process theory, was used. The empirical findings, collected using tools based on the qualitative research approach and analyzed through the lens of the dual-process theory, suggest that a tension between intuitive and logical thinking modes may lead to simple mistakes software engineers exhibit when practicing object-oriented analysis and design (OOA/D). Examining the understanding of OOA/D from this perspective helps explain some of the previously documented, as well as some newly identified difficulties in learning and practicing OOA/D, as well as guide the design of future quantitative experiments to understand how prevalent these phenomena are.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)1407-1426
Number of pages20
JournalScience of Computer Programming
Issue number9
StatePublished - 1 Sep 2013


  • Cognitive processes
  • Intuition
  • Object-oriented analysis and design
  • Qualitative research

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Software
  • Information Systems
  • Modelling and Simulation
  • Computational Theory and Mathematics


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