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In Commemoration of Prof. Dr. Sieghard Beller

We are grieving the loss of our appreciated colleague, Prof. Dr. Sieghard Beller. From the beginning of his studies to his habilitation, he spent essential years of his scientific career at the University of Freiburg’s Institute of Psychology, to which he made most valuable contributions through his various activities.
Sieghard Beller was born in Villingen-Schwenningen, Germany, in 1966. Following his psychology studies at the University of Freiburg, he earned his PhD in 1997 on “Content effects in deductive reasoning” in the research training group “Human and machine intelligence”. His dissertation was rated with “summa cum laude” and awarded the Heinz-Heckhausen junior scientist prize of the German Psychological Society (DGPs). In the following years, he worked on several DFG-projects until he became assistant at Prof. Hans Spada’s chair of General Psychology. For his exceptional accomplishments in teaching, Sieghard Beller received the Teaching Award of the Ministry of Science, Research and the Arts of the State of Baden-Württemberg (Germany) in 2003. In 2006, he habilitated on “Domain-specific knowledge reflected in conditional rules: Promises, threats, causality, and deontic norms”. In the following years, he assumed substitute professorships in Freiburg, chaired a research group at the Center for Interdisciplinary Research in Bielefeld on “The Cultural Constitution of Causal Cognition: Reintegrating Anthropology into the Cognitive Sciences“, and worked as professor for Cognitive Psychology at the University of Paderborn, Germany.  In 2013, he and his wife, Andrea Bender, both were appointed to a professorship each in Cognitive Psychology at the University of Bergen, Norway, where they closely collaborated to the last.
Sieghard Beller made outstanding contributions at the intersection of Cognitive Psychology, Cognitive Science, and Cognitive Anthropology – based on the scientific conviction that cognitive phenomena cannot be fully captured and comprehended detached from language and cultural context. His team investigated such interrelations in the domains of number systems and numerical cognition, spatial and temporal referencing, causal cognition, and cognitive effects of grammatical gender. Sieghard Beller was also involved in the application of the SapienCE Center of Excellence devoted to researching the emergence and evolution of human cognition at the University of Bergen; but when the Centre was approved and commenced operations, he was already terminally ill.
Sieghard Beller passed away on the 24th of October 2018 in Bergen at the age of only 52 years. His scientific contributions as well his dedication to good teaching will continue to be effective through his many publications and outstanding textbooks.
A multilingual commemorative website can be found here. [31.10.2018]

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