Author(s): Beau Lotto
Perception is the foundation of human experience, but few of us understand how our own perception works. By revealing the startling truths about the brain and perception, Beau Lotto shows that the next big innovation is not a new technology: it is a new way of seeing. In his first major book, Beau Lotto draws on over a decade of pioneering research to show how our brains play tricks on us. With an innovative combination of case studies and optical and perception illusion exercises, DEVIATE will revolutionise the way you see the world. With this new understanding of how the brain works and its perceptive trickery, we can apply these insights to every aspect of life and work. DEVIATE is not just an engaging look into the neuroscience of thought, behaviour and creativity: it is a call to action, enlisting readers in their own journey of self-discovery.
'If someone else told me that reality is something we create in our heads - I'd up my medication. This brilliantly written book shows us that this is actually the road to liberation. We have the ability to change our internal landscapes. Making our lives a masterpiece rather than a 'been there done that' cliche.' -- Ruby Wax OBE, American comedian, actress, mental health campaigner, and script editor of ABSOLUTELY FABULOUS 'DEVIATE by Beau Lotto promises to be a groundbreaking book that will be as entertaining as it is provocative. As human beings, we don't live in the world directly: we perceive and conceive it through many filters. What we do perceive is refracted through our own interests, dispositions and cultures and by the context in which we experience it. [DEVIATE] analyses and illustrates these processes with the precision and vitality that is the hallmark of Beau Lotto's work as a scientist and as a presenter. Among the libraries of quick fixes and formulaic programs, the need is growing too for well-grounded insights and tested strategies that reach to the roots of human understanding. [DEVIATE] is uniquely placed to meet this need. Given Beau Lotto's unique expertise and popularity, it will have a wide and enthusiastic audience' -- Ken Robinson, author of THE ELEMENT 'DEVIATE is a more accessible, fun, interactive version of Kahneman's THINKING, FAST AND SLOW - involving the reader in building an active understanding of the value of relying on perception as well as reason, and doing so in enjoyable ways. Beau Lotto is a powerful storyteller who bridges peer-reviewed science and the creative arts in rare ways to offer actionable insights.' -- David Rowan, Editor-in-chief WIRED '[DEVIATE] is a guidebook, a map, and a compass for how to succeed in this world of uncertainty.' -- Andrew Miller, CEO, Guardian Media Group 'A visionary scientist and thinker, Lotto helps us to see the world anew ... a wonderful, ground-shaking book that has the power to change its readers lives for the better' -- John Bargh, James Rowland Angell Professor of Psychology, Yale University and author of HIDDEN MIND: WHY WE DO WHAT WE DO '[DEVIATE] is a neuroscience book that, while explaining what we know about the brain's functioning, explores the deeply personal issue of perception. Beau Lotto's insights constitute a real breakthrough in our understanding of how we perceive (and react to, and imagine ourselves within) reality. And his capacity to make complex scientific concepts and research results easy to understand, and to explain their relevance to our life, makes this an utterly readable book.' -- Bruno Giussani, European director of TED and curator of TEDGlobal 'A genuinely new perspective on the way our brains work and the way we think. Truly enlightening' -- Ron Dennis CBE, Chief Executive and Chairman of the McLaren Group 'Beau Lotto is one of the most creative scientist I know, and his passion for introducing neuroscience to the public ranks him among those rare communicators like Carl Sagan whose ideas can change peoples' thinking. At a time when many neuroscientists are pursuing the mindless goal of mapping all the connections in the human brain, Beau is right on target in his conviction that science advances by doubting the conventional wisdom and asking simple questions in a novel way.' -- Professor Dale Purves, Geller Professor of Neurobiology, Duke Institute for Brain Sciences 'Beau Lotto's DEVIATE is the beginning of a conversation - with yourself. Based on my years working at Pixar and with Tibetan Buddhist meditation masters, Beau is on exactly the right track for using neuroscience to understand the mechanisms that keep us stuck and the power of paying attention to the mind. And he does it with an infectious enthusiasm that cannot help but draw the reader into this engaging material.' -- Lawrence Levy, former CFO and board member of Pixar Animation Studios 'In DEVIATE, Beau Lotto's remarkable research into human perception is crystallised into a series of astute explanations of how we experience reality ... Lotto's ingenious account of the brain's perceptive evolution arrives at an extraordinary proposition of how we can go beyond our current ways of seeing. Following Olafur Eliasson's words that 'what we have in common is that we are different', DEVIATE unravels the bind to our human history in order to foresee a radically different future for a reconfigured, individual perception. It is a brilliant book!' -- Hans Ulrich Obrist, Director of the Serpentine Gallery, London 'Beau Lotto is the ideal writer for a popular book about the neuroscience of perception. He has already proved himself to be an immensely engaging and daring populariser of science. Above all, he is well-established neuroscientist who really knows what he is talking about. In this book he will convince you that our every-day experience of seeing is far more mysterious and exciting than it seems.' -- Professor Christopher D. Frith, Professor of Neuroscience at UCL 'In a brilliant and skillful way Beau Lotto pulls the rug from under our naive view of reality ... we discover how our conventional way of seeing, of perceiving reality, is incomplete and illusory ... in doing so, he opens the curtain to a new beginning, a new beginning of seeing past our individual interpretation of reality, to recognize that others may surely have a different interpretation. In daring us to deviate Lotto encourages us to discover that compassion has a root that can be revealed through scientific insights.' -- Peter Baumann, Founder of Tangerine Dream 'Beau Lotto shows better than anyone else how dependent we are upon our own limited sensory perceptions of the world. The radical thesis that he presents in DEVIATE reveals to us that reality is relative, and that we, ultimately, are capable of changing our world through changing our perception of it.' -- Oafur Eliason, leading artist 'What if we all tried harder to be misunderstood? And what if we could embrace and channel our own misunderstanding of the world around us? Beau Lotto's DEVIATE honors the messy, imperfect genius of human perception as the most valuable resource for creative progress. Lotto is teaching us something so loudly fundamental to our existence, it seems almost impossible that we've missed it: "You're the only one seeing what you see..." - and that's the catalyst of your most innovative and compelling work.' -- Ross Martin, Executive Vice-President, Marketing Strategy and Engagement at Viacom 'Lotto, a brilliant neuroscientist, explains why our perceptual hardwiring makes it difficult for us to live with uncertainty, a condition necessary for us to become more empathic, creative, and successful ... His insights help us understand just why leading change and innovation is so challenging and how great leaders ask great questions. DEVIATE shows us how to reengineer our brains to be more effective in leading our organizations and in living our lives.' -- Linda Hill, Wallace Brett Donham Professor of Business Administration at Harvard Business School 'Beau Lotto has delivered a fresh, provocative, stimulating, revealing neuro-inspired, entertaining text on that most fugitive of subjects - reality. He explores the fact that the only certainty about certainty is its uncertainty and questions what questions we should be asking to enable human and social progress in a world becoming ever more cybernetic. As the architect responsible for the Sainsbury Wellcome Centre for Neural Circuits and Behaviour at UCL I have become only too well aware of how each person deviates from the assumed norms of perceptions despite the illusion of having so much in common. The world of theoretical and experimental neuroscience has much to offer us as we search to produce better environments for all.' -- Professor Ian Ritchie, CBE RA RIBA, Director of Ian Ritchie Architects 'Beau Lotto weaves a fascinating saga about how we shape reality to our survival needs by altering our perceptions. And when we deviate from our "way of seeing," we invent. So he engages us with a host of philosophical ideas and brain-changing experiences to explore why we see what we see and how we create. This book is beautifully written - giving us a truly novel, playful and sophisticated window into the nature of human perception and innovation that is highly relevant for thinking about how to create a successful relationship.' -- Dr Helen Fisher, Biological Anthropologist 'Over the last few decades it has become clear that the human mind is 'embodied'. That is, we cannot understand the brain as a processing engine working separately to our eyes and ears, and our sense of touch in skin and fingers, not our ability to move and alter things in our environment. Currently, this last - altering the environment - has led to an understanding that we are also 'embedded'. Beau Lotto's book takes on the difficult task of exploring what this all means for the way that people understand themselves and their interaction with the world. As a neuroscientist and a specialist in vision he opens up the subject of just how is it possible to actually see and understand anything in the world when it seems that meanings are always constructed somehow separately form the reality of what we see. This is done with immense clarity and ease, something perhaps he has learned in working with school children and bees. it is directly relevant to anyone involved in shaping our world, designers, engineers and architects, because he very gently and persuasively readjusts our way of seeing things and this must surely affect what we will design.' -- Professor Alan Penn, Professor in Architectural and Urban Computing, Dean of the Bartlett Faculty of the Built Environment, UCL 'When I was studying Visual and Environmental Studies at Harvard in the late sixties and early seventies a required course was Rudolf Arnheim's course based on his book: Art and Visual Perception, A Psychology of the Creative Eye. This book and his lectures introduced me to the fact that perception is an active process with the mind combining what it expects to see with the visual information coming from our eyes. His guiding principles came from Gestalt Psychology and the mind's desire to "complete" the picture. Dr. Lotto's book, DEVIATE, has been able to extend and further explain the journey of understanding which Rudolf Arnheim began. Combining both evolutionary imperatives with modern imaging of the brain, DEVIATE helps us understand perception as the key to an individual's survival. It is written with humor, clarity, and delight. I highly recommend it.' -- Jeremiah Harrison, lead guitarist, Talking Heads Has the potential to be a more accessible, fun, interactive version of Kahneman's THINKING, FAST AND SLOW ... Beau Lotto is a powerful storyteller who bridges peer-reviewed science and the creative arts in rare ways to offer actionable insights -- David Rowan, Editor-in-chief, WIRED
Beau Lotto is professor of Neuroscience at University College London and specialises in the biology and psychology of perception. He has conducted and presented research on human perception and behaviour for more than twenty-five years, and his interest in education, business and the arts has led him into entrepreneurship and engaging the public with science. In 2001, Beau founded Lottolab, which returned to UCL in 2013 following a two-year residency at London's Science Museum. Lottolab's experimental studio approach aims to deepen our understanding of human perception, advance personal and social well-being through research that places the public at the centre of the process of discovery, and create unique programmes of engagement that span the boundaries between people, disciplines and institutions. Originally from Seattle, Washington, he has lived in the UK for over twenty years and now lives in Oxford. www.lottolab.org @BeauLotto / @lottolab