mini-q: Intelligenzscreening in drei Minuten

Tanja Gabriele Baudson, Franzis Preckel
  • Diagnostica, July 2016, Hogrefe Publishing Group
  • DOI: 10.1026/0012-1924/a000150

How can we assess speeded reasoning in three minutes only?

What is it about?

In 1968, the famous memory researcher Alan Baddeley devised a really simple three minute intelligence test: You receive a statement, followed by a letter sequence, and check whether the statement describes the number sequence correctly. Whatever it actually measures (researchers have used it as a measure of, e.g., mental speed, verbal reasoning, or working memory), English-speaking researchers love it, because it is short and easy to administer. However, there were issues translating it 1:1 into German, which is quite sad for German researchers looking for a simple screening tool. We therefore redesigned the test, keeping the original dimensions, but using partly different materials. As in the original, we used statements, but with personified geometrical shapes instead of letter sequences and different verbs. And yes, it works! The "mini-q" (a "mini IQ" test), as we called it, assesses speeded reasoning, that is, an about even mixture of mental speed and reasoning. We showed this through several studies and also found out that three minutes seem to be adequate, such that the test is neither to hard nor too easy – at least for university students.

Why is it important?

Especially in studies where many things are examined, researchers are happy about tools that do not take long to administer. Because intelligence is an important variable with great real-life impact, individual differences in intelligence may partly explain effects we find. When you measure it along with the other things you want to examine, you can statistically control for the effect of intelligence and therefore look at the "net effects" of what you wanted to look at originally. The best thing: it's free for fellow researchers to use!


Dr. Tanja Gabriele Baudson (Author)
TU Dortmund University

With the help of many students and fellow researchers who have used the mini-q in their studies, data from diverse populations keep coming in, which help us examine the mini-q's value for other groups, like children, adulescents, or less selective adult populations. Also, we have used two different electronic versions, which also seem to work quite well. If you'd like to use the test, don't hesitate to drop me a note!

The following have contributed to this page: Dr. Tanja Gabriele Baudson