HighlightsPublished on 03.02.2021

Andrea Frick

Andrea Frick is an SNSF Professor at the Department of Psychology and Head of the research unit Development of Spatial Cognition.

Research Area

cognitive development | spatial cognition | embodied cognition | mental representations | mental imagery | mathematical thinking | multitasking

Prof. Frick’s research group studies the full range of cognitive development – from infants to adults – with a special focus on the development of spatial cognition, mental representations, and imagery abilities. Her main interest lies in understanding how spatial and mental transformation abilities develop, how they are influenced by motor development, and whether they are foundational for other cognitive abilities, such as mathematical thinking and multitasking.

Current Project

Multitasking – the ability to monitor, coordinate, and execute multiple concurrent tasks – is an impressive human skill that has become in­creasing­ly important in modern lives. Yet, to date, there is only sparse research on the unique aspects of multitasking, and we still know amazingly little about its development. In her research project, funded by the Swiss National Science Foundation (SNSF), Prof. Frick therefore investigates the development of multitasking abilities in school-aged children and adults. Together with renowned international collaborators (e.g., Veit Kubik, Bielefeld University; Timo Mäntylä, Stockholm University), Prof. Frick investigates the predictive value of spatial skills for multi-tasking abilities, as well as the role of individual differences in music and sports practice, multilingualism, multi-media experience, and executive functioning.

Short Bio

Prof. Frick received her Ph.D. from the University of Zürich in 2006. Thereafter, funded by a personal SNSF grant, she gained post-doctoral experiences at the University of California Santa Cruz and at Temple University in Philadelphia, which considerably expanded her scientific network and resulted in fruitful international collaborations (e.g., with Nora Newcombe, Temple University; Su-hua Wang, UCSC; Susan Levine, University of Chicago). In 2011, she was awarded a highly competitive SNSF Ambizione Fellowship, which enabled her to complete a 3-year longitudinal project at the University of Bern on the development of spatial and mathematical skills. She acquired the Venia Docendi (Habilitation) in 2013 and attained a prestigious SNSF Professorship in 2014. Prof. Frick also held an interim professorship in developmental psychology at the University of Konstanz and a lectureship at the Swiss Distance University. Prof. Frick is a well-connected active researcher and has acquired a total of 2.9 Mio. Swiss Francs (> 3 Mio. USD) in research funding. She has presented her research at numerous international conferences and published in high-ranking peer-reviewed journals.


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