Developmental Psychology

A central research focus of our team is on cognitive abilities and their development. We investigate these aspects from a basic research as well as an application-oriented perspective. For example, we investigate the effects of selected learning principles, such as distributing learning time or generating self-explanations and questions on (sustained) retention (Mirjam Ebersbach, Benjamin Harders). In addition, we test to what extent the effects can be transferred to formal educational contexts (Mirjam Ebersbach, Julia Krauspe). We are also exploring how to promote students' media literacy by using hybrid intelligence (Mirjam Ebersbach, Nils Knoth). Furthermore, we deal with the development of environment-related knowledge and behavior and how to foster it (Mirjam Ebersbach, Daria Mundt), with risk perception and behavior in the context of the Corona pandemic (Mirjam Ebersbach, Anna Helfers), and with the development of sharing behavior (Mirjam Ebersbach, Martina Vogelsang). An overview of our externally funded projects can be found here.

Copies on request to: mirjam.ebersbach(at)


  • Achaa-Amankwaa, P., Kushnereva, E., Miksch, H., Stumme, J., Heim, S., & Ebersbach, M. (2023, accepted pending minor revisions). Multilingualism is associated with small task-specific advantages in cognitive performance of older adults. Scientific Reports.
  • Ebersbach, M., Guschelbaur, A., & Rummer, R. (2023). Flickering presentations do affect the judgment of learning but not the learning outcome. Applied Cognitive Psychology.
  • Ebersbach, M. (2023). Modality-general benefit of eye-closure on the retrieval of intentionally learned information. Applied Cognitive Psychology.


  • Ebersbach, M., Lachner, A., Scheiter, K., & Richter, T. (2022). Using spacing to foster lasting learning in educational contexts: Promises and challenges. Journal of Developmentaland Educational Psychology, 54(4), 151 - 163.
  • Richter, T., Berger, R., Ebersbach, M., Eitel, A., Endres, T., Borromeo Ferri, R., Hänze, M., Lachner, A., Leutner, D., Lipowsky, F., Nemeth, L., Renkl, A., Roelle, J., Rummer R., Scheiter, K., Schweppe J., von Aufschnaiter, C., & Vorholzer, A. (2022). How to promote lasting learning in schools: Theoretical approaches and an agenda for research. Journal of Developmentaland Educational Psychology, 54(4), 135 - 141.
  • Helfers, A., Reiserer, M., Schneider, N., Ebersbach, M., & Sommer, C. (in press). Should I stay or should I go? Risk perception and use of local public transport during the COVID-19 pandemic. Frontiers, 13, 926539.

  • Ebersbach, M., Krupa, J., & Vogelsang, M. (2022). Symbolic distancing in sharing situations restrains children's economic behavior and potentially also their inequity aversion. Acta Psychologica, 226, 103579.
  • Helfers, A. & Ebersbach, M. (2022). The differential effects of a governmental debunking campaign concerning COVID19 vaccination misinformation.
    Journal of Communication in Healthcare: Strategies, Media and Engagement in Global Health . Advance online publication.


  • Ebersbach, M. & Barzagar Nazari, K. (2020). Implementing distributed practice in statistics lectures: benefits for retention and transfer. Journal of Applied Research in Memory and Cognition, 9, 532-541.
  • Ebersbach, M. & Barzagar Nazari, K. (2020). No robust effect of distributed practice on the short- and long-term retention of mathematical procedures. Frontiers in Psychology: Cognition, 11, 811.


  • Barzagar Nazari, K., & Ebersbach, M. (2019). Distributed practice in mathematics: Recommendable especially for students on a medium performance level? Trends in Neuroscience and Education, 17, 100122.
  • Barzagar Nazari, K., & Ebersbach, M. (2019). Distributing mathematical practice of third and seventh graders: Applicability of the spacing effect in the classroom. Journal of Applied Cognitive Psychology, 33, 288-298 . doi: 10.1002/acp.3485
  • Ebersbach, M., Malkus, D., & Ernst, A. (2019). Factors that affect primary-school children's sustainable behavior in a resource dilemma. Journal of Experimental Child Psychology, 184, 18-33. doi: 10.1016/j.jecp.2019.03.007


  • Barzagar Nazari, K., & Ebersbach, M. (2018). Distributed practice: Rarely realized in self-regulated mathematical learning. Frontiers in Psychology, 9, 2170. doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2018.02170
  • Ebersbach, M., & Nawroth, C. (2018). Shape but not color facilitates two-year-olds' search performance in a spatial rotation task. Infancy, 23, 820-832. doi: 10.1111/infa.12259
  • Krüger, M., & Ebersbach, M. (2018). Mental rotation and the human body: Children's inflexible use of embodiment mirrors that of adults. British Journal of Developmental Psychology, 36, 418-437. doi: 10.1111/bjdp.12228


  • Ebersbach, M., & Krüger, M. (2017). Let's twist again: Embodiment effects in spatial judgments on human figures rotated along a vertical axis. Journal of Cognitive Psychology, 29, 963-976. doi: 10.1080/20445911.2017.1342647
  • Stein, M., Auerswald, M., & Ebersbach, M. (2017). Relationships between motor and executive functions and the effect of an acute coordinative intervention on executive functions in kindergartners. Frontiers in Psychology, 8, 859. doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2017.00859


  • Wille, C., Völker, F., Kühnel, J., & Ebersbach, M. (2016). Verbal facilitation effects instead of verbal overshadowing in face memory of 4- to 6-year-olds. European Journal of Developmental Psychology, 13, 231-240. doi: 10.1080/17405629.2015.1088826
  • Ebersbach, M. & Nawroth, C. (2016). The effects of visual discriminability and rotation angle on 30-month-olds' search performance in spatial rotation tasks. Frontiers in Developmental Psychology. doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2016.01648
  • Ebersbach, M. (2016). Development of children's estimation skills: The ambiguous role of their familiarity with numerals. Child Development Perspectives, 10, 116-121. doi: 10.1111/cdep.12172
  • Ebersbach, M., & Krüger, M. (2016). View makes a difference: Presenting human figures from the back or front affects mental spatial transformations of children and adults. Spatial Cognition & Computation, 16, 173-191. doi: 10.1080/13875868.2015.1124109
  • Wille, C., & Ebersbach, M. (2016). Semantic congruency and the (reversed) Colavita effect in children and adults. Journal of Experimental Child Psychology, 141, 23-33. doi:10.1016/j.jecp.2015.07.015 .
  • Peeters, D., Degrande, T., Ebersbach, M., Verschaffel, L., & Luwel, K. (2016). Children's use of number line estimation strategies. European Journal of Psychology of Education, 31, 117-134. doi: 10.1007/s10212-015-0251-z
  • Nawroth, C., Ebersbach, M., & von Borell, E. (2016). Are domestic pigs (Sus scrofa domestica) able to use complex human-given cues to find a hidden reward? Animal Welfare, 25, 185-190. doi:


  • Ebersbach, M., Luwel, K., & Verschaffel, L. (2015). The relationship between children's familiarity with numbers and their performance in bounded and unbounded number line estimations. Mathematical Thinking and Learning, 17, 136-154. doi: 10.1080/10986065.2015.1016813
  • Ebersbach, M. (2015). Evidence for a spatial-numerical association in kindergartners using a number line task. Journal of Cognition and Development, 16, 118-128. doi: 10.1080/15248372.2013.805134
  • Lipowsky, F., Richter, T., Borromeo-Ferri, R., Ebersbach, M., & Hänze, M. (2015). Desirable impediments to learning. School pedagogy today, 11.


  • Ebersbach, M., & Erz, P. (2014). Symbolic versus non-symbolic magnitude estimations among children and adults. Journal of Experimental Child Development, 128, 52-68. doi:10.1016/j.jecp.2014.06.005.

  • Ebersbach, M., Luwel, K., & Verschaffel, L. (2014).Further evidence for a spatial-numerical association in children before formal schooling. Experimental Psychology, 18, 1-7. doi: 10.1027/1618-3169/a000250
  • Krueger, M., Amorim, M.-A., & Ebersbach, M. (2014). Mental rotation and the motor system: Embodiment head over heels. Acta Psychologica, 145, 104-114. doi: 10.1016/j.actpsy.2013.11.004

  • Nawroth, C., Ebersbach, M., & von Borell, E. (2014). Juvenile domestic pigs(Sus scrofa domestica) use human-given cues in an object choice task. Animal Cognition, 17(3), 701-713. doi: 10.1007/s10071-013-0702-3


  • Ebersbach, M., Luwel, K., & Verschaffel, L. (2013). Comparing apples and pears in studies on magnitude estimations. Frontiers in Cognitive Science, 4, 332. doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2013.00332
  • Nawroth, C., Ebersbach, M., & von Borell, E. (2013). Are juvenile domestic pigs(Sus scrofa domestica) sensitive to the attentive states of humans? - The impact of impulsive choice on performance. Behavioural Processes, 96, 53-58. doi: 10.1016/j.beproc.2013.03.002

  • Nawroth, C., Ebersbach, M., & von Borell, E. (2013). A note on pigs' knowledge of hidden objects. Archives Animal Breeding, 56. doi: 10.7482/0003-9438-56-086
  • Lange-Küttner, C., & Ebersbach, M. (2013).Girls in details, boys in shape: gender differences when drawing cubes in depth. British Journal of Psychology, 104, 413-437. doi: 10.1111/bjop.12010.


  • Ebersbach, M., & Hagedorn, H. (2011). The role of cognitive flexibility in the spatial representation of children's drawings.Journal of Cognition and Development, 12, 32-55. doi: 10.1080/15248372.2011.539526
  • Ebersbach, M., Stiehler, S., & Asmus, P. (2011). On the relationship between children's perspective taking in complex scenes and their spatial drawing. British Journal of Developmental Psychology, 29, 455-474. doi: 10.1348/026151010X504942.
  • Ebersbach, M., Van Dooren, W., & Verschaffel, L. (2011). Knowledge on accelerated movements as measured by implicit and explicit tasks in 5- to 16-year-olds. International Journal of Science and Mathematics Education, 9, 25-46. doi: 10.1007/s10763-010-9208-5


  • Ebersbach, M., Van Dooren, W., Goudriaan, M., & Verschaffel, L. (2010). Discriminating non-linearity from linearity: Its cognitive foundations in 5-year-olds.Mathematical Thinking and Learning, 12, 4-19. doi: 10.1080/10986060903465780


  • Ebersbach, M. (2009). Achieving a new dimension: children integrate three stimulus dimensions in volume estimations. Developmental Psychology, 45, 877-883. doi: 10.1037/a0014616


  • Ebersbach, M., Lehner, M., Resing, W. C. M., & Wilkening, F. (2008). Forecasting exponential growth and exponential decline: Similarities and differences. Acta Psychologica, 127, 247-257. doi: 10.1016/j.actpsy.2007.05.005
  • Ebersbach, M., Luwel, K., Frick, A., Onghena, P., & Verschaffel, L. (2008). The relationship between the shape of the mental number line and familiarity with numbers in 5- to 9-year-old children: Evidence for a segmented linear model. Journal of Experimental Child Psychology, 99, 1-17. doi: 10.1016/j.jecp.2007.08.006
  • Ebersbach, M., & Resing, W. C. M. (2008). Implicit and explicit knowledge of linear and exponential growth in 5- and 9-year-olds. Journal of Cognition and Development, 9, 286 - 309. doi: 10.1080/15248370802247962
  • Ebersbach, M., Van Dooren, W., Van den Noortgate, W., & Resing, W. C. M. (2008). Understanding linear and exponential growth: Searching for the roots in 6- to 9-year-olds. Cognitive Development, 23, 237-257. doi: 10.1016/j.cogdev.2008.01.001


  • Ebersbach, M., & Resing, W. C. M. (2007). Shedding new light on an old problem: The estimation of shadow sizes in children and adults.Journal of Experimental Child Psychology, 97, 265-285. doi: 10.1016/j.jecp.2007.02.002
  • Ebersbach, M., & Wilkening, F. (2007). Children's intuitive mathematics: The development of knowledge about non-linear growth. Child Development, 78, 296-308. doi: 10.1111/j.1467-8624.2007.00998.x

Publications (other)

  • Kienbaum, J., Schuhrke, B., & Ebersbach, M. (2019). Developmental psychology of childhood (2nd ed.). Stuttgart: Kohlhammer.
  • Ebersbach, M., Krieg, J., & Schulze, J. (2010). Relations of TV viewing and spatial representational abilities: Evidence from children's drawings, sculptures, and preferences. In A. M. Columbus (Ed.), Advances in psychology research (Vol. 70; p. 137-156). New York: Nova Science Publishers.
  • Ebersbach, M., & Dalbert, C. (2003). Anxiety questionnaire for students (AFS). In J. Hoyer & J. Margraf (Eds.), Anxiety diagnostics - Basic principles and test procedures (pp. 518 - 521). Heidelberg: Springer.


In teaching , we represent developmental psychology (specific methods, theories, cognitive and social development across the lifespan) in the BSc/MSc program in psychology. In addition, we teach (developmental) psychological basics to student teachers and students of social work. Current topics for bachelor and master theses (major in psychology) can be found here!

Rebecca Melchior

Irina Schmid

Alexander Paul Schmidt