Don’t Duck With my Stuffed Animal

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Duck jumps on my head before bed. He's crazy.

Wes Porter, Reporter

I sleep with a stuffed animal duck every night. Well, that’s a lie. Sometimes I sleep with my stuffed animal dog. My duck’s name is simply “Duck,” and my dog’s name is “Doge” (pronounced D-O-G). Weird, huh? Well, studies show I’m not alone, and it may be lowering my stress levels.

A study by The Guardian claims that 60-70% of children develop a “special attachment object,” and many last well into adulthood. Typically a stuffed toy or blanket, these attachment objects are more common than you think, and many children develop attachments paralleling that of imaginary friends, perceiving them to have thoughts and feelings.

A common misconception of imaginary friends is that children who have them are more likely to be lonely and have depressive tendencies. In Nathalia Gjersoe’s article in the Guardian, she suggests the contrary.

“Children who have imaginary friends are, if anything, less shy, more able to focus attention and have advanced social understanding relative to other children,” Gjersoe said. “Children with pretend friends tend to enjoy interacting with others and, when no-one is around to play with, they make someone up.”

Now, I know that Duck doesn’t have feelings or emotions. But, I did win him in a crane machine, so if he were to have feelings, would that make me his ultimate savior from his glass prison? Probably. He symbolizes my triumph, my benevolence, and perhaps most importantly my child-like tendencies, even when I’m supposed to be an “adult.”

A study by The University of Amsterdam suggests that sleeping with a stuffed animal lowers stress. Sander Koole, the lead researcher, found that stuffed animals were as effective at lowering stress and anxiety as human contact.

“Our findings show that even touching an inanimate object such as a teddy bear can soothe existential fears,” Koole said. “Interpersonal touch is such a powerful mechanism that even objects that simulate touch by another person may help instill in people a sense of existential significance.”

So yeah, I may have “outgrown” stuffed animals by most standards. But science says that Duck may be making me more social, more able to focus, and more self-confident. So you tell me-who’s the fool?