Institute for the Psychology of Special Needs

Institute for the Psychology of Special Needs

Our ambition is not less than to support people with disabilities and all those who want to act for their dignity and autonomy by collecting, disseminating, and innovatively utilising up-to-date psychological, biological and educational knowledge, based on the best available evidence.

Education portfolio

The teaching profile of our Institute is composed of courses in psychology, biology, medicine, rehabilitation, research methods, and in the application of info-communication technologies – all in the context of human disabilities and other atypical human conditions. In the Special Needs Education BA programme, we teach introductory courses in psychology, psychodiagnostics, and the biomedical aspects of disabilities, within all of the eight disability-specific learning tracks. An important test of both colleagues’ and students’ efforts is a comprehensive exam in the psychology and psychodiagnostics of disabilities in the 3rd year of the BA programme. We put a special emphasis on our practical courses aimed at developing psychological skills in future special needs teachers; these are especially popular among students. We see our participation in teaching research methods as of key importance for establishing the future of evidence-based practices in special education and for providing foundational knowledge for the next generations of researchers in this field. On the MA level, our colleagues teach advanced courses in psychology and in psychodiagnostics, as well as practical courses in therapeutic methods. On the doctoral (Ph.D.) level, members of our Institute teach courses and supervise students in several doctoral programmes, within and outside of ELTE University. Our share in the training of future scholars covers various topics within psychology and education. On the international scene, we provide a number of courses for students in the Erasmus programme, and plan to open a new international MA programme in research methods in human disabilities in the near future.

Research activities

Our research activities are facilitated by our great traditions: Pál Ranschburg, an experimental psychologist, and Lipót Szondi, one of the most innovative psychologists of the 20th century, were outstanding figures not only in the history of our Institute, but also in the history of Hungarian and European psychology of disabilities. The overall aim of our research and innovation activities is to understand those patterns better that characterise disabled and/or atypically developing people, their environments, and their support opportunities, using the tools and methods of psychology, special needs education, biology, and info-communication technologies. We are pleased to have renewed our research laboratory, which operates under the name of ‘Paul Ranschburg Research Laboratory’ from 2016, and is excellently equipped for various kinds of behavioural studies. Our key research foci are: atypical cognition, language and communication; psychological aspects of assistive, diagnostic and educational technologies; disability and the family, quality of life, psychological well-being, coping; psychological aspects of the helping professions and the institutional contexts of disability; psychological assessment and diagnostics; methodologies of research in human disabilities.


Our members regularly play roles in organising and running international research, development and teaching projects within and beyond Europe, and are active in several international professional organisations. Within Hungary, we are in close partnership with 11 service institutions which offer placements for our trainees. Within the ELTE University, we cooperate especially closely with the Special Needs Education Institute for Atypical Behaviour and Cognition, the ELTE University National Pedagogical Service, and the Neural Information Processing Group of the Faculty of Informatics.



Phone: (+ 36-1) 358-5535