Labelling inanimate and nonsentient objects as living, attributing characteristics of animate objects, typically humans or other sophonts, to inanimate objects, and making predictions or explanations about inanimate objects based on knowledge about animate objects, again usually represented by human beings or equivalent sophonts.

Anthropomorphism or personification is a subset of this that means the extension of human attributes and behaviors to any non-humans. Thus animistic reasoning can be regarded as personification of an inanimate object. In both cases, assigning mental states (desires, beliefs, and consciousness) to inanimate objects, including extraterrestrial entities such as the sun or moon and geographical parts such as a mountain, provides the most impressive example ("The sun is hot because it wants to keep people warm"). Animism is an important component of some shamanic neo-prim cultures and belief systems.

After the emergence of smart equipment in the Information Age, neoanimism or technoanimism became common among less educated bionts and has remained common since then. Technoanimists explain the actions of autonomous objects in terms of human behaviors. This is superficially true, since to maximize usability human-like reactions are a common solution in the design of intelligent devices.
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Text by M. Alan Kazlev
Initially published on 16 September 2001.