So a while back I wrote about naming inanimate objects with a brief mention of my pets’ names. Well, it should come as no surprise to you that I also talk to my pets. In fact, I have whole conversations with them. Or really, in the case of TeddyCat, more arguments.
Cats, as those of you who are owned by cats know, can be most argumentative and love a good debate.
And most pet owners, whether that pet is a dog, cat, bird, fish, reptile, horse, or whatever, will agree with me on the talking to them bit. We all do it.
Admit it, you talk to your pet too.
And so those of us who do have animals know that animals are not “dumb” by any means. Our pets know exactly what they want (treats), what they like (to play with the tennis ball), and what they don’t like (baths and rain). Dexter, for instance, knows Starbucks is where he gets a puppuccino and Petsmart is where he gets to go inside with me.
Just because animals can’t speak English (or French, Spanish, Russian, Swahili, etc.) doesn’t mean they can’t communicate. They do and sometimes very loudly. (Like right now when I’m sitting at the computer typing instead of on the floor playing.)
For the non-pet people, I know it seems a bit weird to have conversations with animals.
It may seem weirder still that I also talk to inanimate objects. Some may even go so far to say it’s a bit crazy to talk to inanimate objects.
(Although for you doubters, I will tell you that it was quite satisfying today to yell “Dangnabit Gladys!” to my GPS when she tried to make me go down the local lanes on 270, when the local lanes are only if you plan on exiting and otherwise spit you back out into the main flow, and when she tried to make me do an unnecessary u-turn.)
But now I have proof that I’m not crazy. I have science on my side.
I read this article which discussed the work of Professor Nicholas Epley. Professor Epley, the John T. Keller Professor of Behavioral Science at the University of Chicago, studies anthropomorphism—ascribing human attributes (e.g., thoughts, feelings, characteristics) to a non-human being or object. And the article summarizes his findings as this behavior of talking to pets or inanimate objects is a sign of social intelligence.
So now when someone looks at me like I’m crazy for talking to my dog or GPS, I’m going to look at them and say, “I’m not crazy. It’s science.”
Of course, saying “I’m not crazy” to someone who hasn’t actually said something to me might prove I’m a bit mentally strange. But I can’t win them all, can I?
In the meantime, I plan on reading Professor Epley’s book Mindwise: How We Understand What Others Think, Believe, Feel, and Want to learn more about Professor Epley’s work on the subject. If you want to read too, I will plan on a virtual book club discussion at some point later this spring, so let me know in the comments if you plan on reading it.
Has anyone already read Professor Epley’s book “Mindwise?” Let me know your thoughts about this in the comments below.
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