A Life in Cognition

Studies in Cognitive Science in Honor of Csaba Pléh

Csaba Pléh turned 75 years old in 2020. The editors and authors of this volume wish Csaba many happy returns. We are not only Csaba’s colleagues: he was also amentor to many of us. In fact, countless cognitive psychologists in Hungary are proud to identify themselves as a Pléh-student or a Pléh-mentee. Besides these close mentorships, he also taught literally masses of undergraduates; more than 25000 students attended his lectures over the decades. His course on the history of psychology, given for more than 40 years, was legendary. Another landmark was Csaba’s famous seminar series. First is the Monday evening seminars at the Psychology Department of ELTE during 1987–۱۹۹۳, then the Thursday seminars, organized in Csaba’s own house for several years, where new and fascinating papers were discussed every week. These seminars demonstrated above all Csaba’s exceptionally democratic attitude toward students: participants included sophomores as well as doctoral students, sometimes even colleagues. Csaba created an atmosphere where everyone dared to freely express their opinion, but there was no mercy for those caught out not having read the paper under discussion.

Csaba’s influence is tangible in virtually everything related to cognitive science in Hungary. He worked at his alma mater, the Eötvös Loránd University at Budapest (ELTE) for 30 years, for 14 of which as the head of the Experimental Psychology Department. Subsequently, he helped to establish the training of psychologists at the University of Szeged, then had a key role in founding the Department of Cognitive Science at Budapest University of Technology and Economics, the first in Hungary to offer a master’s as well as a doctoral program in cognitive science.