If you’re the kind of person who freaks out over the fact that dogs may dream about their owners or would gladly score a special Starbucks secret menu item for your pup, you’re certainly not alone. And if you’re apt to greet your dog first thing in the morning or have long chats with your kitties late at night, it turns out that you might be a total smartypants. That’s because, according to science, talking to your pets is a sign of intelligence.

woman and her pet dog

According to University of Chicago’s Nicholas Epley, a professor of behavioral science, anthropomorphism (our tendency to project human qualities onto objects or animals) is one of the reasons we connect with our pets. Our natural tendency to want to make friends with things we anthropomorphize (try saying that word 10 times fast!) is not only why we talk to our animal friends, but it’s also “a natural byproduct of the tendency that makes humans uniquely smart on this planet.” Epley acknowledges this behavior as a reflection of our brain’s greatest ability, and it shouldn’t be treated as a sign of stupidity. In fact, we think it’s pretty darn awesome.

C’mere, Rover! Take a seat, Fluffy! Let’s chat.

Do you talk to your pets? Let us know @BritandCo!

(h/t Uproxx; photos via Matt Cardy + Oli Scarff/Getty)