Have you ever called your dog a good boy? We bet you have. While everyone around may be calling you nuts because of your talking to animals, it turns out such behavior is not a sign of stupidity, but a hallmark of intelligence characteristic of the human brain. The next time you are told talking to pets as if they were humans is pointless, refer to this article.
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The human brain is constructed in such a way so that it would make an attempt to interact with anything that has eyes as if it was a human. Even if you attach artificial eyes (not some natural-looking scary imitation, but common toy eyes seen on teddy bears) to a cell phone, you may well start talking to it. (Let’s be honest, many of us talk to devices and other objects even without its having “eyes”, especially when the car won’t start).
Toys often become objects rendered half-animate, and not only by children. And animals are just the right creatures to try to become friends with, as many of them respond to our voices and commands.
Too cute to be true
The attribution of emotions and feelings to animals and objects is called anthropomorphism. The word is of Greek origin and literally means “turning into a human”. When we talk to our pets and ask them whether they would like to go for a walk or if they are enjoying the food they are eating, we expect them to understand us and even respond. And some of them do, like dogs and cats do – they are able to understand what a particular intonation means, what actions are assigned to every command used, and even what some of the separate words mean. (Remember your dog’s reaction to the word “park”?)
A study carried out by scientists from Harvard showed that humans are likely to name the animals they meet and even use proper gender terms, to say nothing of treating them like creatures capable of communication.
This ability to name animals and things and try to establish relationships with them is characteristic of humans, and no other living being does the same with inanimate objects.
Research shows that anthropomorphism is a sign of intelligence, since it is one of the distinct features of the behavior seen only in humans. Isn’t it curious how the findings correspond to the Book of Genesis?..
Not only do people normally (!) assign names to animals and objects, they also attribute human-like behavior to them and pretend they are communicating with them while noting various traits. Thus, your TV set may be “stupid”, your car is “capricious”, and your smartphone is “slow on the uptake”.
According to scientists, conversations with pets indicate the person is intelligent and smart, as the behavior is just what can be expected from a normal human being whose brain is functioning properly. Conversely, if someone does not consider animals to be worth naming or talking to, this could mean something is wrong, including the psychological aspect of it.
It is perfectly human to converse with your dog (since most of them are likely to interact with you too). The pets that are talked to are also different from those that are not paid such attention: pets that “engage in conversations” are smarter and understand way more words than if the only thing they hear is “puss-puss” or “kitty-kitty”.
The next time you are told you must be cuckoo because of your talking to someone or something other than another human being, tell them it’s absolutely normal and actually indicates you are doing what your brain is designed to do: to communicate with others, including animals and non-inanimate objects.
P.S. You are likely to fail to talk your car into starting when it simply won’t, but there is something more to it than meets the eye: some people even claim objects have their own distinctive character!