Anthropomorphism

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The Emperor's Rout (1831)
A 40,000 year-old carving of a lion with human-like traits

Anthropomorphism is suggesting that non-human things have human-like traits, emotions, and intentions.[1] It is common for people to do this and considered to be an innate tendency of psychology.[2]

Anthropomorphism is often used in stories and art. It can mean making the thing shaped like a human. The story of the "Three Little Pigs" has a wolf and pigs who talk and act like humans. Mickey Mouse also talks and acts like a human. These are examples of a type of anthropomorphism called "furry".

The novel The Call of the Wild also uses anthropomorphism. The main character is a dog named Buck. Many other characters are dogs and wolves. In the story, the animals think and act more like humans than real dogs do.

Reasons for anthropomorphism[change | change source]

People can explain why they do things. People are usually not as good at knowing why non-human things also do things. This can lead to people assuming non-human things will act or think like humans.

Knowledge about humans is got early in life. It is more detailed than knowledge about non-human entities, and is better remembered.[3]

Related pages[change | change source]

  • Furry: Anthropomorphism where animals are shown as human-like in stories and art.

References[change | change source]

  1. Oxford English Dictionary. "Anthropomorphism, n." Oxford University Press, 1885.
  2. Hutson, Matthew (2012). The 7 Laws of Magical Thinking: how irrational beliefs keep us happy, healthy, and sane. New York: Hudson Street Press. pp. 165–81. ISBN 978-1-101-55832-4.
  3. Epley, Nicholas; Waytz, Adam; Cacioppo, John T. (2007). "On seeing human: A three-factor theory of anthropomorphism". Psychological Review 114 (4): 864–886. doi:10.1037/0033-295x.114.4.864. PMID 17907867.