Saturday, February 7, 2009

Temple Grandin

Temple Grandin is the co-author of Animals Make Us Human: Creating the Best Life for Animals.

From her interview with Jill Owens for Powell's Books:

Jill Owens: How did Animals Make Us Human get started?

Temple Grandin: It's a sort of sequel to Animals in Translation. I wanted to approach things in a different way. In Animals in Translation, we approached things through how animals think, what they fear, emotion systems, different things in the brain. In this book, we broke it down by species.

I want to make sure I give my co-author, Catherine Johnson, credit. She came up with the brilliant idea of linking things like stereotypic behavior back to the core emotions that Jaak Panksepp figured out years ago, which are controlled by subcortical brain systems. When we started looking at the literature on the stereotypes, I said, "Wow! This really makes sense." That's what the first chapter's about.

Animal behaviorists tend to talk about motivation in a very abstract, vague way. So what exactly is this motivation? A light went on in everybody's head, and we realized it would be the core emotions. Those core emotional circuits have been mapped. They're subcortical, and they're the same in all mammals, including people. Birds have emotions, but their brains are set up differently, so let's just stick with mammals for now.
Read the complete interview.

--Marshal Zeringue