A Mind like Mine: The Exceptionally Ordinary Underpinnings of Anthropomorphism

Published on Aug 22, 2018in Journal of the Association for Consumer Research
· DOI :10.1086/699516
Nicholas Epley58
Estimated H-index: 58
AbstractFrom computers to cars to cell phones, consumers interact with inanimate objects on a daily basis. Despite being mindless machines, consumers nevertheless routinely attribute humanlike mental capacities of intentions, beliefs, attitudes, and knowledge to them. This process of anthropomorphism has historically been treated as an exceptional belief, explained away as simply an inevitable outcome of human nature or as an occasional product of human stupidity. Recent scientific advances, however, have revealed the very ordinary processes of social cognition underlying anthropomorphism. These processes enable psychologists to predict variability in the magnitude of anthropomorphism across contexts and also connect it to the inverse phenomena of dehumanization whereby people treat other human beings as if they lack a humanlike mind. Consumer behavior researchers are uniquely equipped to study these processes, to identify the precise situational features that give rise to anthropomorphism, to understand ...
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