Good News: Talking to Your Pet Means You’re Smart!

Don’t worry; you’re not weird if you ask your dog how their day was.

We all know that person who calls their house phone just to leave a voicemail for their pet. But how can you resist telling your furry friend how much you love them? There truly isn’t anything better than coming home after a long day and being greeted by your overly excited dog or cat. (Here is the real reason why your cat purrs.)

But don’t worry; asking your pet if you should have chicken or fish for dinner doesn’t mean that you’re weird, it’s actually a sign of intelligence. This habit is known as anthropomorphism, which is when you attribute human characteristics or behaviors to an animal, object, or god. It’s a sign of how powerful our brains are. Your dog is also just as smart; it can tell when you’re being rude.

Good-News!-Talking-To-Your-Pet-Means-That-You’re-SmartIvan Mateev/shutterstock

“Historically, anthropomorphising 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,” Dr. Nicholas Epley, a professor of behavioral science at the University of Chicago told Metro. “No other species has this tendency.”

Many people think that giving a pet or even an inanimate object the same qualities as a human being is weird and a sign of stupidity. It might be something that children do, but as you grow up you’re taught to stop talking to things that don’t talk back. They don’t have minds like humans, so why should we talk to them like humans?

“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,” said Epley. “It is a reflection of our brain’s greatest ability rather than a sign of our stupidity.”


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Morgan Cutolo
Morgan is the Assistant Digital Managing Editor at Reader’s Digest. She graduated from the University of New Hampshire in 2016 where she received her Bachelor of Arts in Journalism. When she’s not writing for or keeping the 650+ pieces of content our team produces every month organized, she likes watching HGTV, going on Target runs, and searching through Instagram to find new corgi accounts to follow.