Many of us have had the experience of talking to — or, more like, swearing at — our computer as if it had a mind of its own.
Yeah, my computer or "device," as it now calls itself. I tell it "Listen up, device. I got vices of my own and I'll crush you in one of them. PAIN!!!"
Some of us, ahem, have even treated our iPhones or Kindles like they were willfully trying to screw with us.
All right Kindle, everything up until now has just been fun and games as far as I'm concerned. But now you're starting to make me mad. And when I get mad, bad things happen, so please display the written vampire capitalist with a heart of gold pornography.
As relatable as this impulse is, though, a new study published in the journal Psychological Science suggests that it’s lonely and anxious people who are most likely to anthropomorphize technological gadgets.
Losers most likely to engage in pathetic dork-meister behavior, imagine that.
But, according to researchers, when we’re reminded of our close connections with other people, regardless of how lonely or anxious we are, we are less likely to humanize these inanimate devices.
I had a friendly conversation with another Wise Wise Man so you're not getting any love, Central Processing Unit.
“We think this work really highlights how important feeling socially connected is to people and the lengths people will go to ‘reconnect’ when they feel disconnected, and it reminds us of the value of our close relationships,” said lead researcher Jennifer Bartz of McGill University in a press release.
Another McGill University snob.
The researchers put 178 participants through a series of questionnaires that measure things like a person’s loneliness and self-esteem.
Darling are you lonesome tonight? y/n
Then, half the participants were asked to think about an “important” and “meaningful” relationship and answer a bunch of questions about that particular person.
Then we got a boodle of statistics which were wirr-zizzired into some highly dubious conclusions about y'all folks.
Mud, slime, necrotic rotting bodies...uhhhhhhhhhhhhhh.
Then the participants were asked to read descriptions of four different gadgets, including Clocky, an alarm clock with wheels that rolls away from you when it goes off.
Conversely I'll roll right up on your grill when I go off.
The researchers found a strong association between loneliness and a tendency to humanize gadgets.
They also found a strong association between grant money and making some sort of finding.
The researchers suggest that anthropomorphizing tech is a way that lonely and anxious people seek out a sense of connection — but it’s not exactly a great long-term strategy.
Have you tried getting married and raising a family instead of having Omega Man conversations with Clocky, in other words.