by Laurel Braitman
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.
Science historian Laurel Braitman is the author of Animal Madness, a book that takes a close look at our non-human friends and their mental anxieties.
Why you should listen
Laurel Braitman is a science historian who wants to know: Why is your cat so sad? For her book Animal Madness, the TED Fellow delves into the history of mental illness in animals, revealing a world of parrots that pluck themselves, cats with PTSD and donkeys with deep neuroses. Braitman holds a PhD in history and anthropology of science from MIT and works as an affiliate artist at the Headlands Center for the Arts.