Beau Lotto NeuroscientistUniversity College London; Founder of Lottolab
Beau Lotto is a neuroscientist fascinated with human perception. He teaches that the senses only deliver data to the brain, and it is the brain that assembles that data into information that is meaningful to a human being. As Lotto puts it, “We never see the world as it actually is, but only the world that is useful for us to see.” This is one reason human beings have so many built-in biases: they streamline the process of creating meaning from uncertainty. Lotto is the founder of Lottolab, a cross between an art studio and a science lab where the public interacts with striking sculptures and illusions—and from which he mines data for his research in human perception. Lotto's passion shows itself in his unorthodox, interactive approach to research. He uses art and performance as a mass experiment to teach people that what they perceive as unbiased reality is actually a neurologically-produced response to data, grounded in personal and biological history. Lotto also worked with 25 school-aged children to perform an experiment and then publish a paper in a peer-reviewed journal. In 2012, he spoke (and shared his illusions) at the Being Human conference in San Francisco.
Why We See What We Do: a Wholly Empirical Theory of Vision (with Dale Purves)