I’m not sure about you, but I find it physically impawsible to refrain from giving a dog a human voice. Dogs are so expressive, it feels instinctual to verbalize what their derpy little faces are trying to communicate to us. Also, it’s hilarious.
According to Professor Kurt Gray Of UNC-Chapel Hill, I’m not alone. He says, “The first thing people do is treat their pets like people, so a precondition is that they perceive minds in their pets.” At that point, it’s not much of a leap to presume that mind has a personality.
“Once you see your pet as having a mind, and being pretty smart, and having a personality, the next question is, naturally, ‘What is the personality of my cat?’” Professor Gray says. (And we’ll just let the whole cat thing slide…) So what better way to examine your perception of that personality than by putting it into words.
So that means our sometimes embarrassing impersonations of our pups are really just expressions of our curiosity, of our drive to meet the inner pup behind the outer antics. Right?
Professor Gray says there’s nothing more human than wanting to give your dog a voice. As he puts it, “You’d be kind of a jerk if you didn’t try to figure out what kind of person someone is if you just met them.” So how much of a jerk would you be if you spend your life with your pup and don’t try to get to know them?
So Slate visited a few of their local dog parks to put Gray’s theory to the test. The results? Let’s just say they speak for themselves. 🙂