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Dr Jens F. Beckmann, Dipl.-Psych., Dr.rer.nat., Dr.rer.nat.habil.

Reader, Deputy Director of Research in the School of Education

Contact Dr Jens F. Beckmann (email at


Jens joined Durham University, School of Education in 2011 from the University of New South Wales in Sydney, Australia where he was Director of the Accelerated Learning Laboratory. Prior to that he worked at the University of Sydney (Australia), Yale University (USA), the University of Bonn and the University of Leipzig (Germany).

He also holds an honorary appointment as Principal Research Fellow at the Melbourne Business School, University of Melbourne.

His areas of expertise and his main foci of research have mainly been on the study and the assessment of intellectual abilities. More specifically, he conducts research in three main areas:

Dynamic Testing: Dynamic tests concentrate specifically on intellectual potential instead of the mere registration of what examinees are capable of doing at the given time of testing. He has been working extensively on the development of dynamic assessment procedures (e.g. learning tests).

Complex Problem Solving: His interest here is primarily on knowledge acquisition processes whilst dealing with complex dynamic simulations and their effects on controlling such systems. Research in complex problem solving not only allows studying learning and the acquisition and application of knowledge it can also provide a framework to address issues around instructional design.

Cognitive Flexibility: Cognitive flexibility can broadly be defined as the ability to deal with novelty, adjust to changes, and to break out of routine ways of thinking when necessary. Jens' research in this area is concerned with both conceptualisation (i.e. how to define) and operationalization (i.e. how to measure) of these practically highly relevant facets of intellectual functioning.

Jens welcomes enquiries regarding potential supervision of postgraduate and doctoral research broadly related to the above-mentioned topics.

Research Groups

School of Education

Research Interests

  • Cognitive Flexibility
  • Complex Problem Solving
  • Dynamic Testing


Books: authored

Books: edited

Books: sections

  • Beckmann, J.F. & Schumacher, J (2004). Urteilsbildung und Entscheidung [Judgement and Decision Making]. In Lehrbuch Medizinische Psychologie und Medizinische Soziologie. Strauß, B., Berger, U., von Troschke, J. & Brähler, E. Göttingen: Hogrefe. 403-425.
  • Guthke, J. & Beckmann, J.F. (2003). Dynamic Assessment with Diagnostic Programs. In Models of Intelligence. International Perspectives. Sternberg, R.J., Lautrey, J. & Lubart, T.I. Washington, DC: APA. 227-242.
  • Beckmann, J.F. (2003). Lerntests [Learning tests]. In Stichwörter der Psychologischen Diagnostik. Kubinger, K.D. & Jager, R.S. Weinheim: PVU. 267–271.
  • Beckmann, J.F. (2003). Statusdiagnostik [Status diagnostics]. In Stichwörter der Psychologischen Diagnostik. Kubinger, K.D. & Jager, R.S. Weinheim: PVU. 393–394.
  • Beckmann, J.F. (2003). Testing the limits. In Stichwörter der Psychologischen Diagnostik. Kubinger, K.D. & Jager, R.S. Weinheim: PVU. 402–403.
  • Guthke, J. Beckmann, J.F. & Seiwald, B. B. (2003). Wie “identisch“ sind Arbeitsgedächtnis und Schlußfolgerndes Denken? [How “identical“ are working memory and reasoning?]. In Psychologie im Kontext der Naturwissenschaften. Krause, W. & Krause, B. Berlin: trafo. 149–159.
  • Guthke, J. & Beckmann, J.F. (2001). Intelligenz als "Lernfähigkeit"—Lerntests als Alternative zum herkömmlichen Intelligenztest. [Intelligence as the ability to learn – learning tests as alternative to traditional intelligence measures]. In Perspektiven der Intelligenzforschung. Ein Lehrbuch für Fortgeschrittene. Stern, E. & Guthke, J. Lengerich: Pabst. 137–161.
  • Beckmann, J.F. & Freitag, H. (2001). Konstruktvalidierung der Diagnostik intellektueller Lernfähigkeit. [Construct validation of learning ability]. In Dynamik im Testen. Beckmann, J.F. & Herzberg, P.Y. Landau: VEP. 161–171.
  • Guthke, J. & Beckmann, J.F. (2000). Learning test concept and dynamic assessment. In Experience of mediated learning: An impact of Feuerstein's theory in education and psychology. Kozulin, A. & Rand, B.Y. Oxford, UK: Elsevier. 175-190.
  • Guthke, J. & Beckmann, J.F. (2000). The learning test concept: Application in practice. In Dynamic Assessment: Prevailing models and applications. Lidz, C.S. & Elliott, J. Oxford, UK: Elsevier. 17-69.
  • Guthke, J. & Beckmann, J.F. (1996). Wygotskis Postulat von der “Diagnostik der Zone der nächsten Entwicklung“ und dessen Realisierung in der zeitgenössischen Psychodiagnostik [Vygotsky’s postulate of the “zone of proximal development“ and its realisation in contemporary psychological assessment]. In Entwicklung und Lernen aus kulturhistorischer Sicht. Lompscher, J. Marburg: BdWi-Verlag. 270–285.
  • Beckmann, J. F. & Guthke, J. (1995). Complex problem solving, intelligence, and learning ability. In Complex problem solving: The European Perspective. Frensch, P.A. & Funke, J. Hillsdale, NJ: Erlbaum. 177-200.
  • Guthke, J., Beckmann, J.F. & Stein, H. (1995). Recent research evidence on the validity of learning tests. In Advances in cognition and educational practice. European contributions to dynamic assessment. Carlson, J.S. Greenwich, CT: JAI Press. 3: 117-143.

Conference papers

Journal papers: academic