Erlangen School of Information Psychology

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The Erlangen School of Information Psychology summarizes the empirical and theoretical work from the psychological , educational and medical psychological institutions of the University of Erlangen-Nuremberg, from which an information psychological intelligence model emerged.


The name "The Erlangen School" was first used by Hans Jürgen Eysenck in several works since 1986. In them he presented in detail the empirical and theoretical work on information-theoretical and biological aspects of intelligence , to which work groups in Erlangen (and Nuremberg) around Erwin Roth (1960) and Wolf Dieter Oswald (1971) had contributed significant research results. The foundations created here were linked with general information psychological work by Helmar Gunter Frank (Stuttgart, then Berlin and Paderborn) and, from 1974, again in Erlangen, formed by Siegfried Lehrl and colleagues into more comprehensive concepts of intelligence. The basis for this research paradigm was laid in 1952 by William Edmund Hick , who found the mathematical relationship between the reaction time and the number of options in experiments with the Jensen box .

The “Berkeley School” , which was much better known internationally in the 1980s and led by Arthur R. Jensen , who explicitly used the findings of the “Erlangen School”, and the equally renowned “London School” were considered competing schools that also tried to explain intelligence in terms of information theory. around Hans Jürgen Eysenck . The knowledge gained in the three schools complement one another today.

Status of the most important research results

The key finding of the Erlangen school is based on Helmar Gunter Frank's psychostructural model of human information processing from 1960, according to which information from the environment can reach the short memory ("working memory") via the sensory organs . What comes in here becomes conscious and can be processed further, stored in memory or planned as an action and then act as an action on the environment.

As soon as the recorded information and the information to be managed exceed the short storage capacity , the information processing process breaks down and has to be started again. Since people differ in their short storage capacity, they provide different information processing services that are viewed as the basis of “general intelligence” and are reflected in the individual general factor of intelligence . In particular, the level of fluid intelligence depends on it.

The capacity of the short memory C (measured in bits ) depends on the capacity

C = S  ⋅  D

of the sizes

  • Information processing speed S (measured in bits per second ) and
  • Present duration D (measured in seconds; corresponds roughly to the memory span or memory span)


In addition to the concept shown, the easily removable intelligence test KAI ( short test for general basic parameters of information processing ) for single and repeated examinations was developed at the Erlangen school , for which a version for self-testing was created (Lehrl, 1997). With the KAI, S and D can be measured in a few minutes, from which the short storage capacity can then be determined using the above equation. These values ​​can also be assigned to IQ points .

In summary, the achievements of the Erlangen School of Information Psychology result:

  • Your information psychological intelligence concepts form the basis for a reduction of intelligence concepts to a few elementary basic variables and exact intelligence measurements in the bit-second system at a high measurement level.
  • A practicable intelligence test ( KAI ) is also available for this.
  • The intelligence concept is easy to combine with biological facts. It is therefore suitable for many human genetic, physiological and neurological questions about cognitive performance.

Clarification of the general factor of intelligence

The researchers see the information psychological intelligence model as the basis for the exact definition of the general factor of intelligence g , especially fluid intelligence .

Measurement of the percentage of dementia

With the help of the information psychological intelligence model, the global mental decline in dementia can be expressed as a percentage as follows:

Percentage of dementia = 100 ⋅ ( C premorbid  -  C current ) ⁄  C premorbid

The current short storage capacity C is currently measured with the KAI, while the premorbid short storage capacity C is estimated premorbidly using procedures for crystallized intelligence, for example with a multiple choice vocabulary intelligence test such as MWT-A, MWT-B or TPL. If this is used to determine a (premorbid) IQ, it can be assigned a short storage capacity according to the tables in the KAI manual.


  • CR Brand: A review of RJ Sternberg & DK Detterman, What Is Intelligence? In: J. Biol. Soc. Struct. , 11, 1988, Ablex, Norwood NJ, pp. 396-398.
  • JC Carena, L. Ferranti: Aportes de la Cibernetica a la Psicologia y la Pedagogia . Irice, Rosario (Argentina) 2005, ISBN 987-21938-0-0 .
  • HJ Eysenck: Toward a New Model of Intelligence . In person. Indiv. Diff. 7 (1986) 731-736.
  • HJ Eysenck: The Theory of Intelligence and the Psychophysiology of Cognition . In: RJ Sternberg (Ed.): Advances in the psychology of human intelligence . Erlbaum, Hillsdale NJ 1986, Vol. 3, pp. 1-34.
  • HJ Eysenck: Speed ​​of Information Processing, Reaction Time, and the Theory of Intelligence . In: PA Vernon (Ed.): Speed ​​of Information-Processing and Intelligence . Ablex Publishing Corporation: Norwood, NJ, 1987, pp. 21-67.
  • HG Frank: About basic propositions in information psychology . Basic studies. In: Kybern. Spiritual Science , 1, 1960, pp. 25-32.
  • AR Jensen: General Mental Ability: From Psychometry to Biology . In: Diagnostique , 16, 1991, pp. 134-144.
  • AR Jensen: Understanding g in Terms of Information Processing . In: Education Psychol. Rev. , 4, 1992, pp. 271-308.
  • ARJensen: The g Factor. The Science of Mental Ability . Praeger Publishers / Greenwood Publishing Gropup, Westport CT 1998.
  • P.Kline, SG Draycott, VM McAndrew: Reconstructing Intelligence - A Factor Analytic Study of the BIP . In: Person. Indiv. Diff. , 16, 1994, pp. 529-536.
  • S. Lehrl: RAM instead of IQ - with tests and training for mental fitness . Vless, Ebersberg 1987, ISBN 3-88562-079-0 .
  • Lehrl, S., B. Fischer: The basic parameters of human information processing: their role in the determination of intelligence . In: Person. Indiv. Diff. , 9, 1988, pp. 883-896.
  • S. Lehrl, A. Gallwitz, L. Blaha: Short test for general intelligence KAI . Manual instruction. Vless, Vaterstetten / Munich 1980. Later with B. Fischer under the title: Intellectual performance. Theory and measurement of biological intelligence with the short test KAI . 2nd Edition. Ebersberg, Vless 1992, ISBN 3-88562-041-3 .
  • S. Lehrl, B. Straub, R. Straub: Information psychological elementary building blocks of intelligence . Basic studies. In: Kybern. Spiritual Science , 16, 1975, pp. 41-50.
  • RH Lindley, SM Wilson, WP Smith, K. Bathurst: Reaction-Time (RT) and IQ - Shape of Task Complexity Function . In: Person. Indiv. Diff. , 18, 1995, pp. 339-345.
  • WD Oswald: About connections between information processing, age and intelligence structure when sorting cards . In: Psychol. Rdsch. , 27, 1971, pp. 197-202.
  • AA Pueyo: La Intelligencia Como Fenomeno Natural . Promolibro, Valencia 1993.
  • E. Roth: The speed at which information is processed and its connection with intelligence . In: Z. angew. Exp. Psychol. , 11, 1964, pp. 616-622.
  • PA Vernon: The Number-Connection Test and Other Trail-Making Correlates of General Intelligence . In: Person. Indiv. Diff. , 14, 1993, pp. 35-40.
  • H. Weiss, V. Weiss: The golden mean as clock cycle of brain waves . In: Chaos, Solitons and Fractals , 18, 2003, pp. 643-652.

Individual evidence

  2. ^ WE Hick: On the rate of gain of information . In: Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology 4, 1952, pp. 11-26