Do feelings matter? On the correlation of affects and the self-assessed productivity in software engineering
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Background: software engineering research (SE) lacks theory and methodologies for addressing human aspects in software development. Development tasks are undertaken through cognitive processing activities. Affects (emotions, moods, feelings) have a linkage to cognitive processing activities and the productivity of individuals. SE research needs to incorporate affect measurements to valorize human factors and to enhance management styles. Objective: analyze the affects dimensions of valence, arousal, and dominance of software developers and their real-time correlation with their self-assessed productivity (sPR). Method: repeated measurements design with 8 participants (4 students, 4 professionals), conveniently sampled and studied individually over 90 minutes of programming. The analysis was performed by fitting a linear mixed- effects (LME) model. Results: valence and dominance are positively correlated with the sPR. The model was able to express about 38% of deviance from the sPR. Many lessons were learned when employing psychological measurements in SE and for fitting LME. Conclusion: this article demonstrates the value of applying psychological tests in SE and echoes a call to valorize the human, individualized aspects of software developers. It reports a body of knowledge about affects, their classification, their measurement, and the best practices to perform psychological measurements in SE with LME models.