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Animals in translation [sound recording] : using the mysteries of autism to deco
Temple Grandin and Catherine Johnson
Adult Fiction QL751 .G73 2005b

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From Publishers' Weekly:

Philosophers and scientists have long wondered what goes on in the minds of animals, and this fascinating study gives a wealth of illuminating insights into that mystery. Grandin, an animal behavior expert specializing in the design of humane slaughter systems, is autistic, and she contends that animals resemble autistic people in that they think visually rather than linguistically and perceive the world as a jumble of mesmerizing details rather than a coherent whole. Animals-cows, say, on their way through a chute-are thus easily spooked by novelties that humans see as trivialities, such as high-pitched noises, drafts and dangling clothes. Other animals accomplish feats of obsessive concentration; squirrels really do remember where each acorn is buried. The portrait she paints of the mammalian mind is both alien and familiar; she shows that beasts are capable of sadistic cruelty, remorse, superstition and surprising discernment (in one experiment, pigeons were taught to distinguish between early period Picasso and Monet). Grandin (Thinking in Pictures) and Johnson (coauthor of Shadow Syndromes) deploy a simple, lucid style to synthesize a vast amount of research in neurology, cognitive psychology and evolutionary biology, supplementing it with Grandin's firsthand observations of animal behavior and her own experiences with autism, engaging anecdotes about how animals interact with each other and their masters, and tips on how to pick and train house pets. The result is a lively and absorbing look at the world from animals' point of view. (Jan.) Forecast: Anyone who's enjoyed the work of Jeffrey Moussaieff Masson-and especially those who liked it but felt it a bit warm and fuzzy in spots-should appreciate this valuable, rigorous book. (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

From Library Journal:

A high-functioning autistic, Grandin (animal science, Colorado Sate Univ., Thinking in Pictures) has spent a lifetime empathizing with animals. She has also served as a consultant to farmers, ranchers, and slaughterhouses, helping them understand animals and their behavior in order to make their care (and/or slaughter) more humane. Grandin's new book on animal behavior draws on her experiences as both a scientist and an autistic person. Her compelling thesis is that there is a lot we still don't know about animal thought and learning but that her condition provides her with an insight into the issues that other people lack. Autism, Grandin argues, closely mimics the psychological condition of animals, in part because both lack facility with language. Indeed, she asserts that animals are autistic savants whose intelligence is unseen by most people. Grandin deals with wildlife only in passing, but she details some interesting laboratory studies using wild animals. A provocative title for universities and larger public libraries. [See Prepub Alert, LJ 9/1/04.]-Alvin Hutchinson, Smithsonian Inst. Libs., Washington, DC (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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