Automatic effects of anthropomorphized objects on behavior
Behavior can be automatically affected by the perception of other people, be they significant others or members of social groups (e.g., Bargh, Chen, & Burrows, 1996; Chartrand & Bargh, 1999; Fitzsimons & Bargh, 2003). The current research uses these findings as a basis for investigation of the psychological construct of anthropomorphism. Two studies explore whether subtle exposure to anthropomorphized objects such as domestic animals (e.g., dogs and cats) can activate associated concepts and automatically influence behavior. The findings suggest that even incidental exposure to animals associated with human characteristics influences behavior in an automatic fashion, such that people "match" the personality attributed to the nonhuman entity. This provides initial evidence for the role of anthropomorphism in guiding social behavior.
Chartrand, TL; Fitzsimons, GM; Fitzsimons, GJ
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