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Anthropomorphism occurs when human-like qualities are ascribed to nonhuman animals, objects, etc. In terms of psychological research, studies involving animals must avoid assumptions of cognitions and behaviors in animals based on a perceived similarity to human cognition and behaviors. Researchers who work with animals must be aware of the problem of anthropomorphism both in study design and interpretation. For example, studies on metacognition, emotion, theory of mind, among others can often mistakenly assume aspects of animal psychology that are assumed in humans when in reality these processes may look very different from human psychology.



Eddy, T. J., Gallup Jr, G. G., & Povinelli, D. J. (1993). Attribution of cognitive states to animals: Anthropomorphism in comparative perspective. Journal of Social issues, 49(1), 87-101.

Wynne, C. D. (2007). What are animals? Why anthropomorphism is still not a scientific approach to behavior. Comparative Cognition & Behavior Reviews, 2.

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