Talking To Pets Makes You Crazy… Crazy Smart, That Is!
Clearly, I am brilliant.
I mean, I name my plants, my cars, my shoes (yes, I know…) and talk to my dogs all the time. In fact, I talk for them, as well, so that we have lively conversation with each other. So does my son, who has apparently watched me enough to catch on like it’s just what you do… tell the dog to be a good girl while we are gone and ask her what she did while we were out.
Related: How to Teach Your Dog to Speak
Before you point and laugh at me, let me point out that not only is it a normal, human behavior, but one that University of Chicago professor Nicholas Epley says is a sign of being highly intelligent. Epley teaches behavioral science at the university, and according to an interview he had with Quartz.com, he specializes in anthropomorphising behaviors–meaning giving human thoughts, feelings, and emotions to non-human creatures and things.
According to Epley, humans are the only species that anthropomorphise, and we do this because we possess advanced intelligence that enables us to project human faces, thoughts, and emotions where they don’t exist. He also believes that this ability to anthropomorphise is a side effect of being human, and believes it to be a marker of higher social intelligence.
Epley also believes that those who talk to their pets have sometimes been misappropriately labeled as stupid or childish, but claims that the ability to do so is actually what makes us unique in our humanity and intelligence. He believes it to be a good thing, and one that should be celebrated.
Woo hoo! If a professor says we’re geniuses, we’re going to take his word for it!
More by Lori Ennis