Division of Clinical Behavioural Sciences

The Institute of Behavioural Sciences has been conducting clinically oriented research since its foundation. The results of clinical research are integrated into education to a significant extent. This gives both students and researchers an insight into the coherence of clinical data and theoretical background. This gives and requires a significant multidisciplinary approach from the researchers leading clinical research. The multidisciplinary approach is important because it approaches the human being (health/disease) mainly from three perspectives: psychological, biological, and social. The Department embraces this research philosophy. This kind of integrative approach is also important in that the research data obtained can be used by the clinician in the treatment of patients. Our research profile is broad, and it includes diagnostic, rehabilitation, and prevention research, as well as research into psychological therapeutic interventions.

Our department covers several research areas. This includes clinical neuropsychology, health psychology, psychological therapies, and medical ethics. Our two oldest research areas are medical ethics and neuropsychology, while research in health psychology and psychological therapies is a new field.

Our department covers several research areas. These include clinical neuropsychology, health psychology, psychological therapies, and medical ethics. Our two oldest research areas are medical ethics and neuropsychology, while health psychology and psychological therapies are new areas of research.

Clinical neuropsychological research focuses on the cognitive, emotional, and social disadvantages that a neurological injury, whether acute or chronic, causes in the person with neurological injury. Research here focuses on the relationship between biology and psychology. A distinctive approach is reflected in the clinical neuropsychological approach. This approach views cognitive function as being underpinned by neural functional and neurochemical correlates. The very field of neuropsychological research is highly multidisciplinary. It incorporates knowledge from clinical psychology, biology, neuroscience, neurology, and psychiatry. Our research in clinical neuropsychology is mainly focused on a better understanding of degenerative diseases (Alzheimer's, Parkinson's, etc.). On the one hand, diagnostic testing procedures (tests) are being developed, and on the other hand, the cognitive background of neurodegenerative diseases is being explored. Another major area of research is the cognitive background of temporal lobe epilepsies. It is here that our biopsychological model is best demonstrated. In our patients undergoing hippocampal resection, we relate histological data from the hippocampus to the cognitive profile of the patients. Clinical neuropsychological research is carried out in close cooperation with the Department of Neurology and Neurosurgery, the Diagnostic Centre of Pécs, the Institute of Medical Biology and the Central Electron Microscopy Laboratory. At the same time, the above research is complemented by the study of the patient's social network. This research mainly covers the field of neurorehabilitation. Attempts are being made to explore how social factors (family, spouse, friends, children) influence the coping strategies of a person with neuropsychological challenges.

Our health psychology research continues to enrich our research palette. While neuropsychology mainly investigates the effects of neurological injuries, health psychology focuses on the biopsychosocial correlates of physical illness, and in particular the role of health behaviour and health habits in the development of chronic diseases. In addition to the development of behaviours that increase health risk, it also addresses which cognitive and behavioural factors can be effectively modified through interventions. In our research in this area in recent years, we have used an internationally widely applied theory in health psychology, the Health Action Process Approach, the HAPA model. This complex model focuses not only on the factors that motivate change, but also on the processes that are important for implementation and long-term persistence and habit formation. Research in recent years has focused on coronary patients. We have looked at changes in dietary habits and regular exercise after initial diagnosis of the disease and in patients who have recently undergone a heart attack or percutaneous coronary intervention or coronary revascularisation surgery. Our research collaborations have been with the Department of Cardiology, the Department of Cardiology Prevention and Rehabilitation, Department of Internal Medicine, Department of Cardiology I, and the State Heart Hospital of Balatonfüred. We also participated in a multicentre follow-up study to investigate the factors influencing adherence to standard drug therapy in a representative group of convalescent patients (n=956) treated in inpatient rehabilitation. An important goal is to make our clinical health psychology work in cardiac rehabilitation, patient education interventions, a subject of research. Our plan is to test our educational interventions in a multicentre study after adequate preparation and reliable learning and mastery of the method at the skill level.

Our medical ethics research opens new horizons in clinical trials. It focuses on the relationship between genetics and medicine, with a particular focus on genetic interventions for therapeutic purposes. It explores and investigates topics that have a strong philosophical orientation. Thus, he examines the question of the beginning of life, the value of life and, indirectly, human rights. Beyond this, the analysis of justice, or even equity, is also his task. This discipline also incorporates the same biopsychosocial approach that we have already seen in neuropsychology and health psychology. In other words, it is also interested in how genetic biological interventions affect the person concerned (psychology) and his or her social network, place in society and the future health of his or her offspring. On the other hand, it is also a curricular topic, in conjunction with health psychology and psychotherapy research. It also explores how the COVID-19 epidemic affects the ethical background of the doctor-patient relationship.

Our psychotherapy research leads us into another interesting area. In support of the diagnostic approach we have taken so far, we are interested in the applicability of psychological therapies in different mental pathologies. On the one hand, the MICHI (Manualised Intervention to Cope with Depressive Symptoms) treatment programme for adolescents, developed by Joana Straub and colleagues, is adapted and complemented for adult target groups in neurotic disorders. During the six-week therapy programme, elements of symbolic therapy, cognitive behavioural therapy and communication are implemented in a therapeutic teamwork. In addition, a study was launched to explore the psychological impact of the COVID-19 epidemic in psychiatric patients. The study will be conducted with a questionnaire adapted into Hungarian. The research is conducted in cooperation with the Department of Psychiatry of the Balassa János Hospital of Tolna County.

The clinical heterogeneity of the Department is clearly visible. At the same time, a well-researched model is at the heart of the research. This model looks at human beings from biological, psychological and social perspectives. Another feature and strength of our clinical research is the multidisciplinary approach. This means that the Department includes a number of researchers-clinicians from different clinical fields. The primary aim of the establishment of the Department is to maintain heterogeneity and to use an integrative approach to coordinate, link and bring under a more coherent professional umbrella the clinical research activities of the Institute of Behavioural Sciences. We believe that through unified management, researchers with different clinical expertise will become better acquainted with each other's areas of expertise. This is also important because it allows them to acquire new skills and knowledge. On the other hand, unified management also means teamwork. Joint brain-storming sessions can lead to areas where researchers in the Department can work on a joint research project (e.g. dementia research, the impact of COVID-19 on individuals and society). A joint project is also useful because it creates opportunities for effective grant application activities. Another interesting consequence of the establishment of the Chair is that it may explore the rules of collaboration and communication between clinicians and researchers. Not all researchers are clinicians and not all clinicians are researchers. This gives an insight into the science organisation of clinical research. Clinical research is a specific social microcosm where communication between researchers and clinicians is crucial, as many professionals in the Department are conducting research to understand the communication of the doctor-patient relationship. We believe that the knowledge gained here can also be used to better develop researcher-clinician communication.

Members of the Department

  • Dr. Kázmér Karádi, Associate Professor, Head of Department
  • Dr. István Tiringer, Assistant Professor
  • Dr. Beáta Laki, Assistant Professor
  • István Hartung, Assistant Professor
  • Dr Alexandra Nagy, external expert, psychologist at the Balatonfüred State Heart Hospital
  • Csaba Borbély, external expert, neuropsychologist at the National Institute of Clinical Neuroscience
  • Zsolt Kisander, PhD student