So, we were pleased to find out that talking to your pets, despite how silly it might look to non-pet owners, is not that strange after all, according to a study.
Anthropomorphising - when you give human form or attributes to an animal, plant, material or object (basically, a way in which we try and make something more like us) – is actually a sign of intelligence.
Nicholas Epley, a professor of behavioural science at the University of Chicago told Quartz: “Historically, anthropomorphizing has been treated as a sign of childishness or stupidity, but it’s actually a natural by-product of the tendency that makes humans uniquely smart on this planet…no other species has this tendency.”
The study showed that as people get older, they tend to talk to their pets less and less for fear of looking strange – but don’t let this stop you! We’d say with confidence that the amongst the majority of pet owners, this is very common behaviour.
Epley added that “We think our cat is acting ‘sassy;’ that the stock market is ‘angry’ or ‘working to recover;’ and we ask our car ‘why it won’t turn on’ and call it a ‘rickety old man’ when it starts to stall. This is just the by-product of having an active, intelligent social cognition — of having a brain that is programmed to see and perceive minds.”