Beau Lotto

Beau Lotto seeks to pull aside the curtain that disguises how our own perceptions deceive on an instant-by-instant basis.

Why you should listen

According to Beau Lotto, "I have pretty much two aims: to create doubt through the awareness of perception, and to create space for holding that uncertainty. At its core, that's what science is: it celebrates not knowing in an attempt to find better questions.

"What if we could apply the same way of being to everything we do? What might happen if we entered conflict with a curiosity instead of an anger? The barrier to doing so is that we hate not knowing. But fortunately, evolution gave us a solution to that fear: namely, awe. Understanding how awe and wonder facilitate perception and our perceptual creations is what [my] work in neuroscience is all about."

Lotto is the author of Deviate: The Science of Seeing Differently and Why We See What We Do.

What others say

“All his work attempts to understand the visual brain as a system defined, not by its essential properties, but by its past ecological interactions with the world. In this view, the brain evolved to see what proved useful to see, to continually redefine normality.” — British Science Association

More news and ideas from Beau Lotto


How Popcorn Maker adds a new layer of information to a TEDTalk

October 19, 2012

This morning, we’re thrilled to present a TEDTalk as you have never seen a TEDTalk before — with a clickable layer of information that anyone can add to, edit or remix. Working on Beau Lotto and Amy O’Toole’s new TEDTalk, the team at Mozilla used their new web-based video editing / annotating tool, Popcorn Maker. […]

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9 talks by impressive kids

October 17, 2012

Few scientific papers are written in crayon and begin with the words, “Once upon a time.” But then again, few scientific papers are written by a group of 8- to 10-year-olds. In this adorable talk from TEDGlobal, neuroscientist, artist and educator Beau Lotto shares why he thinks children have an edge when it comes to […]

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Q&A with Beau Lotto: On seeing yourself see

October 8, 2009

Neuroscientist and artist Beau Lotto joined the TED Blog for a short Q&A after his 2009 talk from TEDGlobal. He covered some of the fascinating, perception-bending projects he wasn’t able to cover in his talk — an iPhone game that substitutes sound for sight; a new way for composers to experience their music synesthetically — […]

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