Neuroscientist Shlomo Bentin killed in bike accident

Shlomo Bentin, an Israeli cognitive neuroscientist, who died in a bicycle accident on Friday. Photo: The Hebrew University of Jerusalem

Friday’s bicycle accident on Bancroft Way resulted in the death of 65-year-old Shlomo Bentin, a globally recognized expert in cognitive neuropsychology, who was in Berkeley as a guest lecturer at the university.

Bentin was injured in an apparent collision between his bicycle and a dump truck on Bancroft, just west of Fulton, at 3:38 p.m. on Friday. He was taken by ambulance to Highland Hospital, where he was pronounced dead. Berkeley police are still investigating the accident.

Bentin received the prestigious Israel Prize on Israel Independence Day this April, in a ceremony attended by Israel’s president, prime minister, Supreme Court president and other national leaders. The prize cited Bentin’s “important scientific contributions to the field of psychology and the science of neuropsychology in particular”. 

Bentin, who was Professor in the Department of Psychology and a member of the Interdisciplinary Center for Neural Computation at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, contributed to the study of the functional differences of the brain’s hemispheres, and was considered one of the leading researchers of reading in Hebrew. His work had “vastly influenced the evolution of reading instruction in Israel,” according to the Israel Prize Committee.


Bentin was also a leading figure in studying the cognitive mechanisms that enable humans to recognize faces. In the 1990s, he discovered an electrical signal involved in the face recognition mechanism in the brain. The signal is considered the main electrophysiological measure of face recognition. Bentin showed that this was a unique identification process that is different to other object recognition processes.

Bentin was born in Romania in 1946 and immigrated to Israel with his family when he was 12-years old. He is survived by his wife, Miri, and three children.

Related:
Cyclist in accident involving a dump truck [07.13.12]

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