Shlomo Bentin, an Israeli cognitive neuroscientist, who died in a bicycle accident on July 13. Photo: The Hebrew University of Jerusalem
Shlomo Bentin, an Israeli cognitive neuroscientist who died in a bicycle accident on July 13. Photo: The Hebrew University of Jerusalem

Update 12.26.12:

New details released by Berkeley police indicated the dump truck did not collide with Bentin.

Despite the fact that Israeli Professor Shlomo Bentin was hit and killed by a dump truck while riding his bicycle, no criminal charges will be filed against the driver, according to Berkeley police.

“Our officers finished their thorough investigation of the incident and they took their packet over and discussed it with the D.A.’s office,” said Officer Jennifer Coats, the public information officer for the Berkeley Police Department. “It was determined there was not sufficient evidence to seek criminal charges.”

Bentin, 65, was killed July 13 as he was riding his bicycle and collided with a dump truck on Bancroft Way west of Fulton Street. The dump truck driver, who was not identified since no criminal charges were filed, did not immediately realize he had struck Bentin. He drove off, but later returned to the accident scene and fully cooperated with police.

Bentin was a globally recognized expert in cognitive neuropsychology who was in Berkeley as a guest lecturer at the university. Bentin received the prestigious Israel Prize on Israel Independence Day in 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.

Read the commemorative website for Shlomo Bentin

Neuroscientist Shlomo Bentin killed in bike accident [07.16.12]
Cyclist in accident involving a dump truck [07.13.12]

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Frances Dinkelspiel, Berkeleyside and CItyside co-founder, is a journalist and author. Her first book, Towers of Gold: How One Jewish Immigrant Named Isaias Hellman Created California, published in November...