Children frequently speak to inanimate objects, plants and animals, as well as imaginary friends. We adults tend to think it's an adorable way of trying to find new friends. But when adults do it, it becomes less cute - even frowned upon.Anthropomorphism, which is giving human characteristics to non-humans, is a tendency that is supposed to be outgrown by puberty and is considered as being crazy in the normal, adult world. But, as it turns out, there is a scientific explanation for why we do it. And it does not mean we're weird. It means we're intelligent!
Source: Corbis images/Daily Mail
Nicholas Epley, a professor of behavioral sciences at the University of Chicago, and author ofMindwise: How We Understand What Others Think, Believe, Feel, and Want, says that humans talk to non-human objects all the time.
Source: CDNSome people name their cars or boats, others talk to their television if it's not working, while we also use human-like adjectives to describe our pets and other non-human objects. We say our cat is acting "sassy", or that our dog is "grumpy", or that the kitten is "cheeky". The human brain is made to perceive minds in everything.
Source: Love that pet
The site Quartz media reports about Epley's studies, naming the top three reasons why humans anthropomorphize:
The non-human subject looks like it has a face, we’d like to be friends with it, or we can’t explain its unpredictable behavior.
Humans' natural drive for connection with the things surrounding them is what leads them to talk to or about their beloved pets as if they were humans and could understand what their owners said. We naturally try and analyze our pets' mental states, the same way we would do with a close friend or family member.
Epley is convinced that humans who anthropomorphize are intelligent and normal, and are in touch with the very complex parts of their brain that strive for relationships. He writes:
Recognizing the mind of another human being involves the same psychological processes as recognizing a mind in other animals, a god, or even a gadget. It is a reflection of our brain’s greatest ability rather than a sign of our stupidity.
So if you're one of those people who ask your cat what he thinks about your outfit, or asks your dog if he's hungry, don't worry. You're not alone, and you're certainly normal and intelligent.
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