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Wednesday, September 19, 2007
The Woman Who Thinks Like A Cow
Tomorrow, Chris and I get to go hear a lecture from Temple Grandin, the author of Animals in Translation. She believes that the way she perceives the world as an autistic person is the same way that animals perceive the world- she thinks that both are unable to combine little details to form a big picture. Instead, she (and animals) are very aware of details and can't filter out things that normally we wouldn't notice. That's why autistic people often go into "sensory overload" and can't handle environments that normally aren't that stimulating, like the grocery store. That's also why she says that cattle will balk at something we would never see, like a leaf in their path or a coat hanging on a fencepost. I'm really excited, since Temple is one of the most influential people in animal behavior and in particular, in cattle behavior. Before she entered the cattle industry, working with cattle was all about force and fear. She basically single-handedly revolutionized cattle handling and husbandry- an impressive feat for an autistic woman.
The BBC made a great documentary about Temple that's available on YouTube... this is the first section, and it links to the other 4 parts: