Education and Human Development

The department analyses individual and differential developmental processes in both formal and non-formal learning environments, adding an individual perspective to the DIPF’s scope of research.


The department focuses on the individual development of children in educational contexts. In the field of basic research, the crucial issue concerns individual prerequisites and conditions necessary for the development of successful learning, such as motivational and volitional dispositions as well as manifold cognitive competencies. Differential analyses of individual educational pathways are based on longitudinal studies.

In addition to the basic research of the department, practical applications focus on individual diagnostics and support in kindergarten and school: Diagnostic procedures are developed and standardised for assessing individual learning dispositions and learning disorders. Existing approaches of individual support programmes (e.g. acquistion of reading skills) and prevention of educational failure (e.g. language training) are evaluated. Part of our practical research is also designing and validating own approaches as well as the scientific monitoring of pilot projects.

The overall objective is to obtain theoretically and empirically based foundations for designing educational processes across the lifespan – with focus on early education – so that deeper insights can be gained into the potentials for development and the possibilities for changing individual behaviour and experiences.

Important activities in infrastructure and networking are brought together in the department:

Department Units

Development of Successful Learning

Which capabilities contribute to successful learning during childhood? What are the developmental trajectories of these capabilities and how can we achieve their improvement? To provide answers to these questions the developmental changes, contributions to the learning outcomes as well as the modifiability of cognitive (e.g. attention control, functions of working memory, strategies of learning, domain-specific precursors, previous knowledge), as well as motivational (self-concept, intrinsic motivation) and volitional (self-regulation, action control) capabilities are scrutinised.

Cognitive Development

Processes of change at different time levels play an important role in the study of the development of learning across the lifespan. These processes of change and their multivariate dynamics are conceptually analysed. The research team develops and evaluates statistical models for repeated measuring at different time levels and conducts empirical studies of intraindividual variability of working memory performance and their determinants.

Individualised Interventions

How can we support children at risk of academic failure? Can educational technology help to integrate individualised training programmes in the daily routine of primary schools? The research group investigates cognitive factors that determine the success of training programmes and tests them in randomised controlled studies. A key focus of the group lies on developing and testing methods to successfully activate prior knowledge in children with different prerequisites for learning.

Intensive Longitudinal Data

The Emmy Noether research group Intensive Longitudinal Data in Psychology and Education pursues particularly two goals: First, processes of socio-emotional adaptation in educational contexts (e.g., during the transition from secondary to tertiary education) and developmental contexts (e.g., in families’ everyday lives) are examined in empirical studies using ambulatory assessment methods. Second, statistical methods for the analysis of intensive longitudinal data are being developed.

IDeA-Center: Coordination and Laboratories

IDeA is an interdisciplinary research center that investigates learning and developmental processes of children up to the age of twelve with a specific focus on children at risk of academic failure. The center’s coordinating office facilitates networking between the approximately 150 members, organises events, and runs programmes for promoting young scientists. The laboratory unit enables a wide variety of behavioural and neurocognitive studies. The spectrum of methods used ranges from paper-and-pencil and computer-assisted cognitive tests to eye-tracking, EEG, and functional and structural imaging.



Prof. Dr. Marcus Hasselhorn, Development of Successful Learning

Heads of Units

Prof. Dr. Florian Schmiedek, Cognitive Development

Prof. Dr. Garvin Brod, Individualised Interventions

Dr. Andreas Neubauer, Intensive Longitudinal Data

Dr. Jeanette Ziehm, IDeA Coordination

Dr. Björn Rump, IDeA Lab





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