Ever wondered what is it with stuffed animals that makes us love them so much? Science is saying there is a good reason for that and it’s not because we love toys.
If you ask an adult who is still buying stuffies they might say it is because it is a nice reminder from childhood. Others could say it is because they are an arctophille. Science says the reasons might be a lot more deeper than that.
Psychologists say stuffed animals can be a transitional (or a security) object. It turns out people can feel a bond with objects even if they can’t quite respond to you. Although any true fan of stuffed animals will tell you stuffed animals have feelings.
Bruce Hood, who is a psychologist at the University of Bristol tells LiveScience the phenomenon of adults who have “security” objects is a lot more common than people realize. He says there are people from all walks of life that have attachment to an object of some sort with a little more of them being women.
Hood thinkls the only reason why there are more females that keep their attachment for stuffed animals and other transitional objets in adulthood is that boys have a lot of social pressure that “tells” them to put these toys away as they grow up. The reason there is such a social pressure is that until the 1970s people thought a child with an attachment to a toy signifies a failed mother.
Only in the 70s, after Richard Passman did a full research and showed this is not the case and has nothing to do with the fails or successes of a mother, that way of thinking started to change a little. In 2000 a research published in the Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology showed that children who went to the doctor and took their security blankets with them experienced less distress.
According to Hood this sence of attachment is called essentialism. It is the idea of people that objects are more than simply objects. He says most people would refuse to have an object they feel attached to be replaced with an exact replica. The same phenomenon can be negative. For example when you can’t look at an item because it gives you bad memories.
These emotions are not fading when you become an adult. The objects may change though. For example you may start to feel attached to photos, gifts from a loved one and so on. But some people also keep their attachment to stuffed animals.
Scientists seem to think this phenomenon has to do with the experience of touching an object. If you like the feel and the object is fun or nice, then you start forming an attachment with it. It is just a small reason why people love stuffed animals. Scientists don’t really know the full reasons behind it.
We think, but haven’t scientifically proved it, that it also has a little to do with humans natural need to take care of something. For some people this desire is a bit stronger than for other. And if they have liked stuffed animals in their childhood, this translates into a big love for them even in adulthood. Whatever the reason though, loving stuffed animals and having fun with them is one of the best hobbies out there.