Beau Lotto seeks to pull aside the curtain of why we see what we do in order to create the possibility and agency in deciding what to perceive next.

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 recently collaborated with Cirque du Soleil to conduct an ambitious study on the emotion of awe, proving that experiencing it has far-reaching psychological and behavioral benefits. At TED2019, he was joined onstage by Cirque du Soleil performers in a unique performance that explored the transformational power of awe.

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

More news and ideas from Beau Lotto

Live from TED2019

Wonder: Notes from Session 11 of TED2019

April 19, 2019

Session 11 of TED2019 amazed, enriched, inspired and dazzled — diving deep into the creative process, exploring what it’s like to be a living artwork and soaring into deep space. The event: Talks and performances from TED2019, Session 11: Wonder, hosted by TED’s Helen Walters and Kelly Stoetzel When and where: Thursday, April 18, 2019, […]

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Live from TED2019

Co-creating an “experiential experiment” to measure awe

April 19, 2019

“You have to start with an interesting question,” says neuroscientist Beau Lotto. We’re talking over Skype with collaborator Geneviève Laurendeau, the corporate PR manager at Cirque du Soleil, to discuss their year-long science project: an experiment to measure awe. When and how do we feel awe? And: Why does it matter? One great place to […]

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Design

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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