Prof. Dr. Dr. h.c. Joachim Funke

Prof. Dr. Dr. h.c. Joachim ­ Funke [âś“]

Principal Investigator -  Experimental and Theoretical Psychology



Room: A010
HauptstraĂźe 49
69117 Heidelberg

there is *one* central issue in my work: Complex Problem Solving - but I am interested, too, in creativity, thinking, and reasoning

Even though I have officially retired since 1.4.2019, I am not dropping the pen yet, but continue researching (with third-party funding) and teaching (on a smaller flame)! Office hours by appointment only.

Central topics:

    Research on how people deal with complex problems (complex problem solving).
    see my books and articles on thinking, planning and problem solving, creativity

further interests:

    in broader topics of cognitive psychology and in the topic of internet/new media
    disorders of thinking, planning, acting, and problem-solving
    methodology and methods of psychology (epistemology for psychologists)

for more, see my personal homepage

don't forget to look at my blog (you can translate German entries with a language selector top right)

Please refer to the lecture index (LSF) for past courses..

Since 1984 I am giving lectures and seminars. Since my retirement in Spring 2019, I give oly one lecture per year. - Here is a list of my teaching activities from the last years:

Winter term 2020/21

  • V EinfĂĽhrung in die Erkenntnistheorie (10PSY1013) Di 11-13 HS 2 [BSc]

Winter term 2019/20

  • V EinfĂĽhrung in die Erkenntnistheorie (10PSY1013) Di 11-13 HS 2 [BSc]

Winter term 2018/19

  • V EinfĂĽhrung in die Psychologie (10PSY1012) Mo 9-11 HS 2 [BSc]
  • V EinfĂĽhrung in die Erkenntnistheorie (10PSY1013) Di 11-13 HS 2 [BSc]
  • S FOV Allgemeine Psychologie: Problemlösen Mo 11-13 ĂśR C [BSc]
  • S PSQ: Präsentation eigener Forschung Di 18:00-19:30 ĂśR E [BSc]
  • S Projektbegleitung Di 18:00-19:30 ĂśR E [MSc]

Services for the Academic Community

  • From 2011 until 2015 member of the Extended Collaborative Problem Solving Group for PISA 2015
  • From 10/2010 until 03/2019 Speaker of the Academic Senate of Heidelberg University
  • From 01/2010 until 03/2020 member of the Board of Trustees of the Leibniz-Institute for Psychology Information ("ZPID")
  • From 2009 until 2015 member (since 2010 chair) of the International PISA Problem Solving Expert Group
  • From 2005 until 2008 editor-in-chief of "Psychologische Rundschau"
  • From 2002 until 2012 member of the Advisory Board of "Zeitschrift fĂĽr Psychologie"
  • From 1999 until 2000 member of the Supervisory Board of Universität Heidelberg
  • From 1999 until 2022 founding member and head of "Alumni Psychologici"
  • From 1998 until 2008 head of the Scientific Advisory Board of "Zentrum fĂĽr Psychologische Information und Dokumentation" (ZPID)
  • From 1998 until 2002 member of the expert group "Problem Solving" from the German national PISA-Consortium of the OECD-study "INES Network A"

Peer Reviewing

  • Reviews for many national and international journals
  • Reviews for national and international publishers
  • Reviews for national and international scientific organizations

Services within the Psychology Department

  • From 05/2012 until 04/2022 member of the ethics committee of our faculty
  • From 10/2003 until 03/2006 Acting Director of the Psychology Department
  • From 08/2004 until 03/2005 provisional Acting Director of the Institute of Anthropology
  • From 10/1997 until 09/1999 Acting Director of the Psychology Department
  • From 1997 until 2019 co-organization of the yearly Student Congress("Empra-Kongress")

Services within Heidelberg University

  • since 10/2009 (until 09/2025) member of the senate committee "Safeguarding Good Research Practice"
  • From 10/2010 until 03/2019 Speaker of the Academic Senate
  • From 10/2002 until 09/2003 Member of the Academic Senate
  • From 04/2002 until 12/2002 member of the rectors' committee "Partnerschaftliches Verhalten in Forschung und Lehre"
  • From 03/1999 until 09/2000 Member of the senate committee "Neue Medien"
  • From 12/1998 until 09/2000 Member of the senate committee "Bibliothekswese
  • From 11/1999 until 10/2000 Member of the Administrative Board of Heidelberg University

Joachim Funke is since 1997 Full Professor for Theoretical and Cognitive Psychology at the Department of Psychology at the University of Heidelberg, Germany. He holds a Ph.D. (1984) in cognitive psychology from the University of Trier. in 1990, he received his postdoctoral lecture qualification (="Habilitation") at the Faculty for Philosophy, Bonn University. His work on complex problem solving was strongly influenced by Dietrich Dörner (Bamberg University, Germany) who proposed the use of computer-simulated microworlds to assess decision-making and problem-solving in complex and dynamic environments. He retired in March 2019.

Funke's primary interests are issues within the field of problem-solving and thinking, especially measurement aspects. He is one of the promoters of the European approach of Complex Problem Solving which uses computer-simulated microworlds for assessment of problem-solving competencies. His edition „Complex Problem Solving: The European Perspective“ (1995, together with Peter Frensch, published at Erlbaum) was a cornerstone in the development of a new era of computer-based assessments.

Funke has been and is project director of a number of research projects funded by national and international institutions. Among many interesting projects, the one funded by the German Science Foundation (DFG) over six years within their Priority Programme "Competence Models for Assessing Individual Learning Outcomes and Evaluating Educational Processes“ deserves mentioning. During that project, Funke developed together with Samuel Greiff an approach called "minimal complex systems“. Instead of making computer-simulated scenarios more and more complicated, he followed the idea to measure problem-solving competence at the lower bounds of complexity.

Funke published numerous articles for national and international scientific journals, contributed to many book editions, and wrote and edited books himself. He is co-founder of „Heidelberg University Publishing“ which started in 2016. From 2007-2010, he was editor-in-chief of "Psychologische Rundschau“, the flagship journal of the German Psychological Association (DGPs). He was and is on some editorial boards. Also, he is co-founder and co-editor of the open-access „Journal of Dynamic Decision Making“. From 2010 until his retirement in March 2019, he was spokesman of the Academic Senate of Heidelberg University.

From 2010 until 2014, he was chair of the International PISA Problem Solving Expert Group. This group helped OECD’s PISA studies to move conceptually from static to interactive problem-solving. This shift has opened the door for a modern approach to the computer-assisted measurement of key competencies like individual or collaborative problem-solving.

In 2015, he received an honorary doctorate from Szeged University, Hungary, for his long cooperation with this university and for his activities concerning computer-based problem-solving assessment. He has been a guest professor at a number of universities, including the universities of Fribourg (Switzerland), Melbourne (Australia), Szeged (Hungary), and Nanjing (China).

Some of my personal favorites (peer-reviewed) journal articles (sorted by date):

  • Stocker, K., & Funke, J. (2019). How we conceptualize climate change: Revealing the force-dynamic structure underlying stock-flow reasoning. Journal of Dynamic Decision Making, 5 , 1. doi: 10.11588/jddm.2019.1.51357
  • Dörner, D., & Funke, J. (2017). Complex problem solving: What it is and what it is not. Frontiers in Psychology, 8 (1153). doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2017.01153
  • Funke, J. (2017). Scholarly merits: From measurement to judgment. Perspectives on Psychological Science, 12(6), 1145–1147. doi: 10.1177/1745691617740129
  • Amelung, D., & Funke, J. (2015). Laypeople's risky decisions in the climate change context: Climate engineering as a risk-defusing strategy? Human and Ecological Risk Assessment, 21, 533-559. doi: 10.1080/10807039.2014.932203
  • Steinhorst, A., & Funke, J. (2014). Mirror neuron activity is no proof for action understanding. Frontiers in Human Neuroscience, 8(333), 1-4. doi: 10.3389/fnhum.2014.00333
  • WĂĽstenberg, S., Greiff, S. & Funke, J. (2012). Complex problem solving: More than reasoning? Intelligence, 40 , 1-14. doi: 10.1016/j.intell.2011.11.003
  • Funke, J. (2010). Complex problem solving: A case for complex cognition? Cognitive Processing, 11 , 133-142. doi: 10.1007/s10339-009-0345-0
  • Funke, J. (2001). Dynamic systems as tools for analysing human judgement. Thinking and Reasoning, 7 , 69-89. doi: 10.1080/13546780042000046

A complete list can be found here .