Deviate The science of seeing differently

R. Beau Lotto

Book - 2017

"Perception is the foundation of human experience, but few of us understand why we see what we do, much less how. By revealing the startling truths about the brain and its perceptions, [neuroscientist] 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, Lotto draws on over two decades of pioneering research to explain that our brain didn't evolve to see the world accurately. It can't! Visually stunning, with entertaining illustrations and optical illusions throughout, and with clear and comprehensive explanations of the science behind how our perceptions operate, Deviate will revolutionize the way you see yourself, others, and the world. With this new unde...rstanding of how the brain functions, we can apply these insights to every aspect of life and work. Deviate is not just an illuminating account of the neuroscience of thought, behavior, and creativity: it is a call to action, enlisting readers in their own journey of self-discovery."--Jacket.

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New York : Hachette Books 2017.
Main Author
R. Beau Lotto (author)
Other Authors
Luna Margherita Cardilli (illustrator), Ljudmilla Socci
First edition
Physical Description
xv, 332 pages : illustrations ; 24 cm
Includes bibliographical references (pages [311]-317) and index.
  • Acknowledgments
  • Introduction: The Lab of Misfits
  • 1. Being in Color
  • 2. Information Is Meaningless
  • 3. Making Sense of the Senses
  • 4. The illusion of Illusions
  • 5. The Frog Who Dreamed of Being a Prince
  • 6. The Physiology of Assumptions
  • 7. Changing the Future Past
  • 8. Making the Invisible Visible
  • 9. Celebrate Doubt
  • 10. The Ecology of Innovation
  • A Beginning: Why Deviate?
  • Notes
  • Index
Review by Booklist Review

Lotto, a world-renowned neuroscientist and TED Talks speaker, takes readers on a mind-bending journey in this culmination of more than 25 years of research. Lotto literally challenges the way we see the world by dissecting how our brains perceive our environments and how we make meaning out of what our senses gather. Lotto compares our perceptions with those of animals from the minuscule bumblebee, which evolved to see color long before humans did, to the majestic reindeer, which can see ultraviolet light and reveals that, visionwise, our worldview is comparably narrow. Through numerous optical illusions, hands-on experiments, and disorienting uses of typography, Lotto engages with readers directly and actively. His passion for science, art, and the human experience is undeniable, and his intentions are clear: to inspire readers to go on their own journeys of self-discovery and to challenge the delusions built into our brain. Lotto's inquiry is densely packed with thought-provoking information, from historical findings to modern-day experiments, and any reader interested in science, psychology, philosophy, or self-improvement will find this groundbreaking work simultaneously engrossing and entertaining.--Smith, Patricia Copyright 2017 Booklist

From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission.
Review by Library Journal Review

Lotto (neuroscience, Univ. of London) is an expert on perception who wants to disillusion readers of their outdated beliefs about how the brain works and show them how to make use of the latest developments in his field. He explains that we do not perceive the world as it is but rather as it has been useful to us to perceive both over the course of our lifetimes and over the course of human evolution. This in turn leads to certain biases and assumptions about ourselves, others, and the world. Lotto argues that these tendencies can limit people in many ways, not least of which are in the interactions we have with one another and our ability to innovate. With a science-based understanding of the brain, we have more tools to address these limitations. Filled with images demonstrating illusions and figures illustrating concepts, and making unique use of fonts and page layout, this accessible, intriguing title shows as well as tells. VERDICT A combination of popular science and self-help, this offering should appeal to scientifically inclined readers of popular psychology who are also seeking inspiration. [Prepub Alert, 2/21/16.]-Nancy H. Fontaine, Norwich P.L., VT © Copyright 2017. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

(c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Review by Kirkus Book Review

What is reality? Whatever you make of it, it would seem, to go by this sprightly look into the nature of things.Lotto (Neuroscience/New York Univ.), founder of the London-based Lab of Misfits and a popular TED talker, ventures into fascinating and puzzling territory in this book of popular science. The author examines the difference between reality, whatever that might be, and perception, our way of sensing and ordering the world, and he locates a meaningful gap between the two in which nearly anything can happen. Contemporary philosophers are inclined to doubt the existence of reality, period, but Lotto sidetracks that to look head-on at our subjective interpretations, backing his observations with explications of the experimentssome resembling magic tricksthat he has conducted in such matters as "body transfers" and dreaming. He peppers his thoughts with Buckminster Fuller-esque exclamations ("Illusions themselvesare an illusion!" "Celebrate doubt!") that sometimes seem faux-naif, especially in the context of his already telegraphic, elliptical (and ellipses-laden) prose: "But this won't be easybecause you're a frogwhen it comes to perception." Among Lotto's most valuable contributions to our lay understanding of perception and thinking is his formulation of perception as an "ecology," meaning "the relation of things to the things around them, and how they influence each other." Given the differences between ecologies from one brain to the next, it's a wonder we can agree on anything. The author closes with thoughts on genius and creativity, observing, usefully, that "creativity is in fact a very basic, accessible process" that can be enhanced by changing the questions we ask and the assumptions we make, as well as by changing our educational modes ("creativity in educationgets crunched into a competitive economic model"). A little of the gee-whiz stuff goes a long way, but Lotto's provocative investigation into the mysterious workings of the mind will make readers just that much smarter. Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Copyright (c) Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.