We study humans in the wild by creating “Experiential Experiments” that break down the walls of the traditional laboratory and invite audiences to participate in real world, measurable, interactive research.

This approach to research unlocks more meaningful, personal insights and can drive innovation in product development and communication.

We work with corporations, brands, institutions and organizations to bring these experiences to life.

The Value for Individuals, Brands, Audiences and Organisations

  • “Owning” a concept like awe, tolerance or empowerment that is central to your organization and the human condition.
  • Empirical, scientifically based data and insight related to your audience and their perception before, during and after the experiment.
  • Meaningful content for PR and marketing initiatives.
  • People walk away with a better understanding of themselves: who they are and why.

Our process

Placing the public at the center of the scientific process of discovery yields more authentic insights and results in deeper engagement and understanding. Our process brings clients, audiences and collaborators into the creation as well as the experience of an experiment.

How we do it

  • Discover the question in order to create an experiment
  • Convert the experiment in to a real world experience with real people
  • Observe, generate and share insights
  • BCW
  • Sainsbury's
  • Microsoft
  • Edelman
  • Cirque Du Soleil
  • L'Oreal
  • TJ Maxx
  • National Geographic
  • CURA
Case study

Cirque du Soleil

Where does awe live inside the brain? Does awe have an impact on how humans behave and evolve?

We measured 400 participants using a blend of techniques including EEG headsets, galvanic skin response, psychological testing and heart rate monitoring, looking for changes in their unconscious perception and behavior before and after the performance.

This study chartered new territory in the field of neuroscience, creating the first ever neural metric for human experiences of awe and wonder.

The Lab of Misfits + Cirque du Soleil project produced scientifically based insight in to Cirque’s core brand value of awe.

We were able to measure awe in the brain, and why it matters. Changes in the audience included:

  • Increased their tolerance to risk
  • Became more open and pro-social to others
  • Reduced their need for control

These observations were measured unconsciously and changed to a statistically significant degree.

In addition, our AI system can now predict when someone is experiencing awe with 82% accuracy. With this, we can design to maximize awe, or even discover the demographics of people who are most likely to experience awe at a Cirque show.

Our Cirque project also produced content that was activated across multiple platforms.

  • An ABC TV news segment
  • An article in Fast Company
  • The commissioning of a new style of TED talk between the Lab of Misfits and Cirque, scheduled for 2019.

Lead Scientists:
Beau Lotto
Rich Clarke

Art Direction
Dannii Evans

Clementine Seely

Collaborating Scientists
Isabel Behncke
Moran Cerf
Larry Maloney

Collaborating Artists:
Miuchael McQuilken

Case study


Working with L’Oreal we were able to identify connections between the way women feel about themselves, their hair and beauty.

Hair is a fundamental part of the human body. And indeed, the human brain uses hair to determine, not only the ‘beauty’ of another person, but their physical and reproductive fitness, emotional health and even identity.

We tested whether it would be possible to use hair as a mediator of personal transformation.

We took women aged 25 to 45 through a series of Experiential Experiments and discovered that the experiential hair experiment not only increased their sense of empowerment, but also raised their tolerance to risk, and even their creativity.

The data demonstrated that hair is strongly connected to personal transformation.

  • Statistically significant increase in the creativity of the subjects after the experience, with the largest effect for the “hard” creativity challenges problems.
  • Significant increase in their subconscious positive perception of self after the experience.
  • An increase in an unconscious association with traits consistent with a perception of higher power and attractiveness as compared to before the experience.
  • Increased subconscious perception of openness after the experience.