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It's Official: Talking to Our Pets Is a Sign of Intelligence

Jerriann Sullivan
Oct. 26, 2017

Love talking to your dog? A new study has confirmed that it isn't because you're weird; it's because you're a GENIUS.

Image via unsplash.com/@freestocks.

Pet owners sometimes get strange looks for having long conversations with their furry friends, but it turns out the act itself is a sign of intelligence. 

People love to anthropomorphize, which is to talk about or to an object or animal as if it were human. Often we consider the act childlike or playful.

"Historically, anthropomorphizing has been treated as a sign of childishness or stupidity, but it’s actually a natural byproduct of the tendency that makes humans uniquely smart on this planet," Nicholas Epley, a professor of behavioral science at the University of Chicago, told Quartz

No other species has this tendency, Epley said. 

The behavioral expert explained that anthropomorphizing comes from humans having active social cognition. We have minds and look for them in others, even inanimate objects. 

There are a few additional reasons why humans anthropomorphize things, including a desire to be friends with the object and explain its unpredictable behavior.

So it makes total sense that humans would anthropomorphize their pets. Cats and dogs are fabulous creatures, and we want to be their friends AND have an explanation for why they keep destroying our furniture. 

"For centuries, our willingness to recognize minds in nonhumans has been seen as a kind of stupidity, a childlike tendency toward anthropomorphism and superstition that educated and clear-thinking adults have outgrown," Epley said

The professor thinks people with that point of view are mistaken, though.

"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," he said. "It is a reflection of our brain’s greatest ability rather than a sign of our stupidity."

Comments

I've always talked to my babies. They are part of my family so why wouldn't I? I ask them how they are, if they've missed me while I was gone, if they're hungry, etc. They talk back to me (in their own way). Actually, I probably talk more to my babies than other people.

Taylor in Kinston, NC
June 18, 2017

i talk to my pets and all pets all the time. i find it to be quite a bonding experience between the animal and myself 

Beth in Tucson, AZ
April 26, 2017

Yes we can communicate with her animals but some people don't understand that that we have a higher intelligence and if we use her full brain potential we can actually communicate with her animals be at cat dog horses or the birds outside or even a cockroach because I've done it myself because we are capable but unfortunately Willow or less intelligent people can't even understand this concept at all. My cats that I have one after another when they died will bring me live animals as gift instead of dead ones after I tell them to bring me only live gifts. My one cat came up and laid right next to my face at 10 minutes to 7 in the morning when I told her the night before that I had to get up early but when I wanted to turn the other way and sleep she got off of me and headed very disgusted look on her face. She also used to come into my massage room 10 minutes before I was supposed to be done as well as the actual time that I should be done with my client by rubbing around my legs. Yes definite intelligence that we have if we use our full brain potential but I guess other people do not know how to use all of their brain that they were given and me not have the capacity to do so. Have fun out there with you animal friends.

User in Hollywood, FL
April 11, 2017

Since i signed up with care com I have landed 10 jobs. This is what has worked for me maybe it can work for you also. 1st.  you have to upgrade to premium ( so families can respond to your applications. ( its only $20 per month but google care.com promo codes and use them for cheaper cost) 2nd. Review your Bio ( dont be to personal but be more professional)  here's a link to my profile for kind of a idea of what I mean.  https://www.care.com/p/toinia/.... 3rd. Once you submitted a application wait a couple of days and sent the families a follow up message. 4th. DONE GIVE UP. BE ACTIVE ON THE SITE AS MUCH AS. POSSABLE. Here is my stats: You sent 433 messages to 251 care seekers You received 71 messages from 19 care seekers In the past 3 months, you have responded to 90% of inquiries, usually within 12 hours You have logged into Care.com 511 times In the past 3 months, your Profile was viewed 13 times. I am not anybody special.if it can work for me it can work for anybody. Hope this helps anybody struggling. And BEST OF LUCK TO EVERYBODY.

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