First things first: Who talks to their pet? Erm, everyone.
Are you even normal if you don’t have full-on conversations with your dog/cat/rabbit? We all say hello to our fluffy friends when we get home from work and ask how their day was… don’t we? And what about naming a car? Calling your Mini Cooper Beryl is completely conventional, right? And don’t even get us started on Peter the pot plant.
Turns out, naming your plant and car, or chatting to your kitty like he’s a fully fledged human, is a sign of intelligence. Finding human attributes in inanimate objects is literally programmed into our DNA – so if you haven’t named your car, you may want to ASAP.
It’s all explained in a term called ‘anthropomorphising’, which means “to ascribe human form or attributes to (an animal, plant, material object, etc.)”. According to a new study by the University of Chicago, this behaviour is actually a sign of intelligence.
In fact, decoding human faces and making connections with objects takes the same brain power, “Recognising the mind of another human being involves the same psychological processes as recognising a mind in other animals, a god, or even a gadget.”
Therefore, the more we create personalities and humanise everyday items, the more socially intelligent we become.
Epley concludes that anthropomorphizing, “is a reflection of our brain’s greatest ability rather than a sign of our stupidity.”
So, natter away to your pet to your heart’s content. You’re only boosting your own intelligence, after all.