Head and Coordination



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(until Sept. 2014)




2011 - 2015

Project FLUX

Assessment of Cognitive Performance Fluctuations in the School Context

The project FLUX studies daily fluctuations in children’s cognitive performance in the school context.

The project’s focus lies on working memory that is responsible for simultaneous storage and processing of information. Working memory is a central determinant of intelligence and school achievement. The project aims to investigate fluctuations in cognitive performance in the school context by means of ambulatory assessment methods. In collaboration with colleagues from the department of Technology Based Assessment at the German Institute for International Educational Research, playful tasks were developed for Android mobile device applications. Using these tasks primary school children’s cognitive performance can be assessed repeatedly each day for several weeks to study within- and between person variability. In the project’s studies, children complete cognitive tasks including working memory and processing speed and answer short questions about their mood, motivation, and sleep. Children’s daily physical activity is studied in subsamples using actigraphy. In pre- and post-tests school achievement, fluid intelligence, and background variables are assessed. We investigate daily fluctuations in cognitive performance and their role for fluid intelligence and school achievement as well as their relationship with daily fluctuations in affect, motivation, sleep, and physical activity both at the group and at the individual level applying multilevel as well as time series analyses.

Selected Publications

Dirk, J., & Schmiedek, F. (in press). Fluctuations in elementary school children's working memory performance in the school context. Journal of Educational Psychology.

Könen, T., Dirk, J., & Schmiedek, F. (2015). Cognitive benefits of last night's sleep: Daily variations in children's sleep behavior are related to working memory fluctuations. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 56, 171-182. doi:10.1111/jcpp.12296

Kühnhausen, J., Leonhardt, A., Dirk, J., & Schmiedek, F. (2013). Physical activity and affect in elementary school children’s daily lives. Frontiers in Movement Science and Sport Psychology, 4:456. doi:10.3389/fpsyg.2013.00456 (http://www.frontiersin.org/movement_science_and_sport_psychology/10.3389/fpsyg.2013.00456/abstract)

Leonhardt, A., Könen, T., Dirk, J., & Schmiedek, F. (in press). How differentiated do children experience affect? An investigation of the within- and between-person structure of children's affect. Psychological Assessment.