Is There Anybody Out There? Trait Anthropomorphism Predicts the Psychological Benefits of a Favorite Belonging
Prior research shows that there are stable personality differences in the tendency to attribute human-like mental states to (i.e., anthropomorphize) non-human targets. A separate line of research has explored the extent to which individuals turn to non-human targets as a source of the support and security people often derive from close relationships. The current paper offers a first integration of these lines of research by testing whether trait differences in the tendency to anthropomorphize non-human targets predicts the extent to which individuals derive feelings of security from a favorite belonging. An experimental study finds that individuals who tend to anthropomorphize feel greater security after a reminder of a favorite object (vs. close other) and that these feelings of security subsequently enhance motivations for personal growth, an established benefit of interpersonal relationships.
Journal of Individual Differences
Keefer, L. A.
(2016). Is There Anybody Out There? Trait Anthropomorphism Predicts the Psychological Benefits of a Favorite Belonging. Journal of Individual Differences, 37(4), 231-238.
Available at: https://aquila.usm.edu/fac_pubs/17598