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Lab of Misfits


Experiments in progress

Lab of Misfits has an ongoing programme of public experiments the purpose of which is to deepen both our scientific and philosophical understanding of human perception.

 Members of the public can take part in any of these experiments from 1–4pm Mondays to Thursdays, as well as during the Lates events on the last Wednesday of the month. While some experiments are open to adults only, others are also open to children.


The experiments being run at the moment are:

How do you use maps?

You're lost in a new place. You find a bus stop, and look at the map on it. Does it help you find your way? PhD student Jae Lee, in collaboration with Beau Lotto and schoolchildren from our i,scientist programme, have come up with some brand new tests to answer these questions and more. Be prepared to be blindfolded and navigate a maze using sound. (December 2011, all ages)


Give me a hand

Our body and brain are completely inter-connected, so does the action of part of our body affect how we think? Could holding a ball make some thoughts ‘easier' than others? We're looking at these effects with children throughout December.


How sharp is cold?

An ongoing theme at Lab of Misfits is to look at associations between our senses. Do touch, sound and sight interact with each other, even in a controlled environment? Do words have shapes, and do silent objects have sounds? These may seem like silly questions, but they help us tounderstand perception at a fundamental level. (Ongoing, all ages)


What would you do?

This immersive-reality experiment looks at moral judgements. You may have taken tests designed to investigate your morality before, but probably not quite like this. Rather than reading a scenario and answering a question, you're in control of a situation, and you need to react in real time. There's no right or wrong answer, and we'll tell you more about the research question after the experiment. (Ongoing, adults only)


Does what you see change how you see?

This experiment started in a village in Namibia. Researchers noticed that people saw certain things differently to people that lived in cities. So, we decided to test this idea with adults and children alike. Lab of Misfits is hosting the London version of the test, which is being run simultaneously in two other locations. (Ongoing, all ages)


Playing with Plasticine

How does sight affect our sense of touch, our creativity and our happiness? We ask participants to make something out of a piece of plasticine. Some people do the experiment with their eyes open, while others are blindfolded and given relaxing music to listen to. Does the ability to see and hear what's around you affect what you make? Drop by to take part in PhD student Alessandra Milella's unique and fun test. (Ongoing, all ages)