Paul Fitts bigraphy, stories - Psychologists

Paul Fitts : biography

May 6, 1912 - 1965

Paul M. Fitts (1912–1965) was a psychologist at Ohio State University (later at the University of Michigan). He developed a model of human movement, Fitts's law, based on rapid, aimed movement, which went on to become one of the most highly successful and well studied mathematical models of human motion. By focusing his attention on human factors during his time as Lieutenant Colonel in the US Air Force, Fitts became known as one of the pioneers in improving aviation safety. There are also indications Fitts worked in some capacity as a consultant concerning the interview of alleged UFO witnesses, and was planning work on how terrestrial or psychological explanations could account for UFO sightings.

In 1965 he died unexpectedly at the age of 53.

He was President of Division 21 (Division of Applied Experimental and Engineering psychology) of the American Psychological Association (APA), in 1957-1958. The association now has a Paul Fitts honorary award. From 1962-63 Paul M. Fitts was president of the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society.


He received degrees in psychology.

  • University of Tennessee (BS 1934)
  • Brown University (MS 1936)
  • University of Rochester (PhD 1938)
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