There’s a viral video right now that apparently shows a rat showering like a human. It’s covered in soap, standing up, and rubbing it’s face, arm pits, and body. People are enamored with it because we love it when animals do anything that resemble human behavior – dogs driving cars, cats wearing sunglasses, etc. – our pleasure with equating anthropomorphism with cuteness is probably rooted in our ego somewhere.
But when you dig deeper, we know that much of this behavior isn’t “normal.” The animals are sometimes trained to exhibit certain behaviors. In this instance, the rat was trying to get rid of the soap (which could have been irritating or causing pain, as Gizmodo reports).
Why are we obsessed? And if we feed into the beast of driving more clicks, views, or attention, are we in fact the ones being trained into new behaviors? Studies suggest yes.