Behind those funny animal videos, sometimes, are oddly human-like problems. Laurel Braitman studies non-human animals who exhibit signs of mental health issues — from compulsive bears to self-destructive rats to monkeys with unlikely friends. Braitman asks what we as humans can learn from watching animals cope with depression, sadness and other all-too-human problems.

Why you should listen:

How similar to one another are human and animals? Particularly how similar are in our emotional make up.

Laurel Braitman asks things like,” Why is my cat so sad?”; “Why does my dog lick himself raw?” Her answers reveal a world of parrots that pluck themselves, cats with PTSD and donkeys with deep neuroses.

Who is she:

Laurel Braitman is a science historian, and a TED Fellow. She earned her PhD in history and anthropology of science from MIT.

In her book Animal Madness she examined the history of behaviors in animals that mimic similar behaviors seen in humans who have been diagnosed as mentally ill;

Discussion questions:

The usual Q and A format for this talk as not been provided. The listener is invited to do some research of animal emotion and engage in a general class discussion.






Depressed dogs, cats with OCD — what animal madness means for us humans with Laurel Braitman


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