If you talk to your own pets as if they’re human, you’re not alone.
Many people feel that there’s a sort of stigma around talking to their pets — they think that other people might assume they’re stupid for speaking intelligently to their animals.
However, it’s something almost all of us do! Talking to animals (or objects) like they’re human is called anthropomorphizing, and it’s not silly at all — it actually points to a higher social intelligence.
As a kid, you may have talked to your stuffed animals and various dolls like they were human — it’s no different when we talk to our pets.
And no, none of this is immature, it means that we have active minds.
Although it may seem a bit juvenile to continue talking to inanimate objects after childhood, it’s natural to form relationships with our pets.
According to Nicholas Epsey, who is a behavioral science professor at the University of Chicago, anthropomorphizing pets is a sign of intelligence.
(Anthropomorphize is an odd, fancy word that means, “to attribute human form or personality to things not human.”)
Epley goes on to explain that naming animals and assigning them certain personality traits (like thinking your cat is sassy or your dog is goofy) is a sign of our willingness to recognize minds in nonhumans.
“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”.
In addition, anthropomorphizing objects or animals signifies that we like them.
According to Quartz, psychologists believe that we are more likely to engage with the mind of people, pets, or object we are close to.
What all this science means is that talking to your pets like they’re human isn’t a sign at all that you’re immature or stupid — it’s a sign of complex social intelligence.
So, how about you? Do you have conversations with your pets?