The Psychology of Anthropomorphism: 6 reasons why we tend to give non-human entities and objects human traits

The Psychology of Anthropomorphism

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6 reasons why we tend to give non-human entities and objects human traits

  1. To Give it Value.  We add value and “moral character” to non-human entities by anthropomorphizing it.  Suddenly, it becomes a worthy of our care, love, time, and consideration.  An animal at a pet shop is just an animal until we give it a name and take it home.  It becomes more than an animal.  Suddenly, he or she is our beloved pet, a part of the family. 

  2. To Give a Sense of Responsibility.  It makes us believe that they are now “responsible for their own actions”.   It suddenly seems as if they deserve “punishment and reward”.

  3. Similarity.  The chances are high that we tend to anthropomorphize non-human entities that have similar traits to humans.  Traits could be facial features or human-like movements.  It is known that we look like our pets and vice versa. 

  4. To Ease Loneliness.  Loneliness could drive us to anthropomorphize non-human entities such as pets and/or plants.  Some people even name and assign genders to their vehicles, boats, and/or homes.  One example is in the movie Castawaycastaway533Tom Hanks’ character humanizes a volleyball and names it “Wilson” to ease his loneliness on the deserted island.  It aids in his survival.

  5. To Simplify.  Sometimes, anthropomorphizing helps us to “make sense” of non-human entities that are rather complex.  For example, we assign names and even genders to hurricanes and storms.

  6. To Make a Social Connection.  When we anthropomorphize, we create an avenue of communication with a non-human entity or object.  We have enabled ourselves to now make a social connection between ourselves and something we would not otherwise be able to actually communicate with.

 

  • Can you think of popular examples of Anthropomorphism? 

  • Can you think of more reasons why humans may Anthropomorphize?

  • Are you guilty of Anthropomorphizing your pet, plants, vehicle, boat, or…?  Tell us why. 

E-mail to psycheandsociety@usa.com to get your answers added to the list and/or published in a future post.

 

Sources and further reading: 
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