Talking to pets and objects is not madness, but a sign of intelligence according to a study published by Professor Nicolas Epley of the University of Chicago.
To whom has it never happened to make endless speeches with the pet? Speak to it, chat with it and ask life fundamental things or million-dollar questions like “how do I get my auto insurance online?” or, “should I start online college today?” And everything to end up looking from time to time at its puzzled face, while doing your email marketing for your business, or simply cooking your favorite dish. One thing is certain: sometimes, thanks to their nonverbal language we find the answers we were looking for!
Do you know those people who talk to their dogs or cats as if they were interacting with another human being? It will have happened to you more than once to joke about certain behaviors, considering excessive the delight with which some people turn to their dog or cat. Perhaps, you too are part of that circle of slightly bizarre people who talk to animals.
Well, for all of you who can’t help but tell your pet the latest gossip about colleagues, friends and new flirts: don’t worry, you’re not crazy! And, we explain why!
This tendency that pushes us to talk to our machines, plants, pets, dishwashers, and any other object, we should consider as valuable as our family life insurance quotes, as it is actually the consequence of having an active and highly functional brain. It is not uncommon to give a name to objects, for example to your car or plants in the house. This occurs especially when we imagine someone’s face while we observe the object in question.
But why do we activate this mechanism?
The easiest way for our brain to help us avoid dangers is to search for friendly faces with which we can bond. It is thanks to empathy that humankind has survived and has thrived. Since we now live in a highly functional society, where we are no longer competing for food and no longer have to run away from large predators, this instinct is automatically remodeled and this is precisely what led us to seek human qualities in non-human beings or inanimate.
Why do we talk to animals?
Talking to your pets is actually a sign of other important qualities, according to science. Pets are often considered to be the same as our best friends: always by our side, they support and love us (yes, cats and dogs, in their own way, love us!) And therefore it is no wonder that sometimes we hear the need to share our feelings and thoughts with them.
Now, these behaviors are supported by studies and scientific evidence. Researchers call this phenomenon anthropomorphism. Before your hypochondriac delusions take over, we want to inform you that no, anthropomorphism is not a disease and it is not contagious.
Anthropomorphism is the completely natural human tendency to attribute human emotions and characteristics to objects or animals not belonging to our species. Children participate anthropomorphizing quite often and we think it’s cute and bizarre.
The evolution of science and studies allows us today to define it also as a particular form of intelligence because it is based on creativity and empathy. It is, in fact, a great advantage of the human being to be able to understand feelings and be able to attribute meanings and emotions in a genuine way, without first making a distinction between human and non-human.
A relationship that starts from childhood
The child-animal relationship is one of the strongest on this planet and is built in the summer afternoons, in the afternoon naps, in the years that pass while growing together. In essence, children are the first to notice that our animals can, in some way, understand us, even with just a glance. We can, therefore, say that children, in a certain sense, are more intelligent than adults, because they are endowed with a more pronounced emotional intelligence.
They also manage to make friends from nothing, to invent whole conversations and to build relationships with their strong and long-lasting animal friends, who will never forget. Someone who owned an animal knows something about it. We bet that now those moments are part of your best memories! Addressing your pet like a human being, after childhood, therefore proves great open-mindedness, great humanity, strong sociability, and more sensitive intelligence. In addition, language is an essential element in the relationship between man and animal.
It is essential for example when training a horse, a dog, or an otter. It partially understands what you are saying. Besides, in addition to smell, it is by its voice that an animal often recognizes its master. So, yes you sometimes seem ridiculous when you ask your pet whether he is thirsty. But it’s proof of your love for him and your intelligence, so why forbid it?
And when you grow up?
Everything changes. Fantasy moves back, and “real” life makes room in our days, where it is not possible to let oneself go to fantasy and imagine one’s dog … like a psychotherapist! Or not? We are afraid to talk to our pet because we don’t want to be taken for mad but the truth is that talking with your pet is a symptom of intelligence, an intelligence that speaks of your feelings.
The real crazy people are those who do not understand how much the look of your furry friend means to you and do not understand that everyone would need to let off steam with their trust at least 15 minutes a day and even more if the day was heavy. Your ability to see your pet even as a friend is not a limit but a resource for daily well-being.
You have the science and awareness on your part that there is nothing wrong but rather, it is liberating and satisfying, but also useful because it helps you keep stress and anxiety levels under control. But not only that: talking to your pet makes you healthy, balanced and able to still experience the genuine emotions of the past.
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Better cohesion and productivity thanks to animals?
After the cat bars or the dog bars, discover these companies which welcome animals also when their masters come to work. This is to apply after all this sad pandemic story will be over, of course!
The Japanese company Ferray Corporation had decided to install nearly a dozen cats on its premises in 2015. The presence of cats has indeed had a very positive impact on employees and their work. Faced with the great success of this first initiative, the company then offered employees to come to the office with their cats.
Having their furball with them all day long would indeed be very good for the morale of these cat lovers. The purrs relax and the employees are in fact less eager to return home in the evening to find their animal.
Purring therapy in the office
The Swiss multinational Nestlé has also adopted a similar policy. She accepts pets from her employees in offices all day, cats, but also dogs. The company justifies this choice by a desire for well-being for its employees.
Cats, by their purring, act as a form of natural calming therapy. Dogs, man’s best friend, also allow their joviality and sympathy to boost the morale of the troops. These are arguments that everyone who has a cat or a dog knows well. Not sure however that all the bosses decide to get started. There remains the problem of allergic colleagues, without forgetting the pounds of hair that fell in the offices …
What about taking your pet to work?
In France, the law is very clear. In the administrations and food companies, it is forbidden to take your pet to work, for obvious hygienic reasons. For private companies, it is something else. Each company can decide whether or not to allow its employees to do so. The internal rules of each private company are different. In any case, you must obtain the agreement of your boss, as well as your colleagues beforehand. And you will obviously be responsible for any damage that your hairball may cause on the premises. That goes without saying.