Paul Morris Fitts Jr. (May 6, 1912 – May 2, 1965) was a psychologist at the 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.[2]

Paul Fitts
Paul Morris Fitts Jr.

May 6, 1912
DiedMay 2, 1965(1965-05-02) (aged 52)
Alma materBrown University
University of Rochester[1]
Known forFitts's law
Scientific career
InstitutionsOhio State University
University of Michigan

In 1965 he died unexpectedly at the age of 52.[3]

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 at the following universities:


  1. ^ Sheehy, Noel; Chapman, Antony J.; Conroy, Wenday A. (8 January 2016). Biographical Dictionary of Psychology. ISBN 9781136798856.
  2. ^ "Project Blue Book Archive".
  3. ^ "The Michigan Alumnus". 1964.