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Jerome Lettvin

American psychiatrist

Died when: 91 years 59 days (1094 months)
Star Sign: Pisces


Jerome Lettvin

Jerome Ysroael Lettvin (February 23, 1920 – April 23, 2011), often known as Jerry Lettvin, was an American cognitive scientist, and Professor of Electrical and Bioengineering and Communications Physiology at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).

He is best known as the lead author of the paper, "What the Frog's Eye Tells the Frog's Brain" (1959), one of the most cited papers in the Science Citation Index.

He wrote it along with Humberto Maturana, Warren McCulloch and Walter Pitts, and in the paper they gave special thanks and mention to Oliver Selfridge at MIT.

Lettvin carried out neurophysiological studies in the spinal cord, made the first demonstration of "feature detectors" in the visual system, and studied information processing in the terminal branches of single axons.

Around 1969, he originated the term "grandmother cell" to illustrate the logical inconsistency of the concept.Lettvin was also the author of many published articles on subjects varying from neurology and physiology to philosophy and politics.

Among his many activities at MIT, he served as one of the first directors of the Concourse Program, and, along with his wife Maggie, was a houseparent of the Bexley dorm.

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