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Lab of Misfits

Lab of Misfits programmes: Human perception  Bumblebees Robots ‘My School‘ Street science Musical spaces    Media: Books, television, radio, popular press



The human visual mind, like all natural brains, evolved to makes sense from the senseless, to create meaning where there is none. There is no inherent value in the incredibly complex patterns of light that fall onto our eyes, and yet we see coherent forms and motions that enable us to survive.

The process of perception is in fact one of creation and interaction and therefore a physical representation of past ecology. Thus, our beginning premise is that the mind evolved to continually redefine normality, to find – indeed to create – the relationships in the sensory image that matter, and to imbue those relationships with value, which we then see.

One of our newest projects, the Public Perception Project, is based on the idea of performing highly controlled experiments on thousands of subjects around the world. Our ambition is to discover the differences and similarities across all humans: since perception underpins all human behaviour, in a very real sense, the ambition is to define human perception.

Why We See What We Do: An Empirical Theory of Vision (Paperback)

Book image

Here we provide a set of powerful colour, motion and shape illusions created in-house. Much of our research is centred on understanding how and why we see illusions.


Illusions of light