Are you one of those people who just can’t seem to stop talking to their pets? More than likely, you have heard a lot of negativity as a result. People might ask you if you are honestly having a complete conversation with your dog or they may wonder if you actually just said ‘hello’ to a cat. They call you crazy but you might be surprised to learn that they are way off track.
The fact that people think you are crazy is not necessarily out of the question, especially if they are somebody who never talks to their pet. Of course, we all realize that our pets don’t talk back to us but we love them and they are a part of the family. Even so, people may say that we are off our rocker for having a conversation with them but researchers would beg to differ. In fact, scientific research is now saying that there is nothing unusual about talking to animals and actually, it could be a sign of superior intelligence.
If you happen to talk to an inanimate object, regardless of whether it is your car, a houseplant or your pet parakeet, it doesn’t make you crazy. Talking to anything other than a human being is something known as anthropomorphizing. If you have a desire to name anything that is of interest to you, it means you are an intelligent individual.
On the surface, some people may look at anthropomorphizing as a childish or immature behavior. A number of studies, however, have shown that people who talk to animals or inanimate objects are actually smarter than those who don’t do it. When you really stop to think about it, human beings are the only species on the face of the earth that talk to other beings. Some humans may attribute a human trait or emotion on an inanimate object and they even look for facial features in those objects.
That is the sign of an amazing brain. Not everybody naturally does it.
At the University of Chicago, Nicholas Epley is a professor of behavioral science. He says: “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.”
Do you greet your pet in the morning, celebrate their birthday and call them by name? When you look at clouds, cars or rocks, do you naturally see human faces? If you answered yes to any of those questions, you likely have a high IQ and an impressive amount of intelligence.
When you anthropomorphize, you attempt to look for any human traits in everything that is around you. Your brain is constantly looking for those traits and it tends to be more active and functional than the brains of those who don’t do it. Those who anthropomorphize tend to have a developed social cognition. In other words, if you ever call to talk to your dog in the middle of a busy day, you can feel pretty good about yourself right now.
Some people are going to give the argument that animals can’t understand you. That isn’t exactly the truth. They may not understand what you are saying right away but over time, they start to recognize your voice, inflections, and gestures. Animals have a lot more intelligence than most people think and they can adapt over time.
Some animals have even been able to understand the emotions of humans. This comes from a University of Lincoln study. An experiment involving dogs that were given images and audio of human emotions found that the dogs could differentiate sad and happy emotions.
Source: University of Lincoln
The conclusion of the study states: “Our study shows that dogs have the ability to integrate two different sources of sensory information into a coherent perception of emotion in both humans and dogs. To do so requires a system of internal categorization of emotional states. This cognitive ability has until now only been evidenced in primates and the capacity to do this across species only seen in humans”
The bottom line is, animals do understand what you are saying to them. This also includes cats, who understand you but just don’t care.
If somebody insists on calling you crazy because you are talking to a pet or because you see faces hidden in inanimate objects, then it is time to toss some facts in their direction. Let them know that you are not stupid or immature, let them know that scientists even name natural disasters and hurricanes after humans.
Talking to your pet is a healthy, normal behavior. It strengthens your bonds and it shows that you have superior intelligence.