Prof. Dr. Funke

"Precise measurement is the basis of good empirical psychology"

Prof. Joachim Funke, born in 1953, studied at the universities of Dusseldorf, Basel and Trier. He obtained his doctorate at Trier University in 1984 and his post-doctoral lecturing and research qualification (Habilitation) at Bonn University in 1990. Since April 1997 he has headed the General and Theoretical Psychology Unit at the University of Heidelberg’s Psychology Institute. He was a Marsilius Fellow in 2008/09. His research focuses on thinking, problem-solving and creativity. From 2009 to 2014 he was Chairman of the International Expert Group on Problem Solving for the OECD’s international PISA studies.


What was the aim behind development of the test?
Daniel Holt (who co-authored PLAND with me) and I wanted an easy-to-take test of higher cognitive functions that would be suitable for both assessment and training purposes. It needed to meet psychometric criteria and to be rooted in everyday life.

What was the greatest challenge in developing your tests?
One challenge was creating a wide range of demands of varying difficulty; another was devising suitable indicators of planning ability. In my view we have coped well with both challenges.

For what target group were the tests developed?
The target group is patients at the rehabilitation stage in whom higher cognitive functions are already largely present. Problem-solving planning is usually a particularly difficult task.

What are the special features of the tests?
The test requires integrated planning of multiple tasks; both spatial and temporal constraints need to be observed.

How to you see tests developing in the future? What aspects of this are you particularly interested in?
I find adaptive tests appealing, because they are linked to the respondent’s ability and thus provide the optimum level of challenge. The linking of assessment and training should be increased.

There is further information on the author’s website:

(Co)-author of the tests: