One of the world's most celebrated animal scientists merges a lifetime of study with her extraordinary perceptions as an autistic person in a groundbreaking book that revolutionizes the understanding of how animals think and feel. Temple was one of the most popular speakers at the 2004 APDT Conference.
Autistic people can often think the way animals think, putting autistic people in the perfect position to translate "animal talk." Temple is a faithful guide into their world, exploring animal pain, fear, aggression, love, friendship, communication, learning, and, yes, even animal genius. Not only are animals much smarter than anyone ever imagined, in some cases animals are out-and-out brilliant. The sweep of "Animals in Translation" is immense, merging an animal scientist's thirty years of study with her keen perceptions as a person with autism -- Temple sees what others cannot.
Among its provocative ideas, the book:
* Argues that language is not a requirement for consciousness -- and that animals do have consciousness
* Applies the autism theory of "hyper-specificity" to animals, showing that animals and autistic people are so sensitive to detail that they "can't see the forest for the trees" -- a talent as well as a "deficit"
* Explores the "interpreter" in the normal human brain that filters out detail, leaving people blind to much ofthe reality that surrounds them -- a reality animals and autistic people see, sometimes all too clearly
* Explains how animals have "superhuman" skills: animals have animal genius
* Compares animals to autistic savants, declaring that animals may in fact be autistic savants, with special forms of genius that normal people do not possess and sometimes cannot even see
* Examines how humans and animals use their emotions to think, to decide, and even to predict the future
* Reveals the remarkable abilities of handicapped people and animals
* Maintains that the single worst thing you can do to an animal is to make it feel afraid