Author Archive

Facetime your Grandpa! Cognitive Maintenance to Prevent Isolation

November 13th, 2022 No comments

My Grandfather is 91 years old. It’s hard to admit but too often growing up, I had the mentality that talking to him was too difficult or not relatable. He has hearing aids in both ears, struggles to hold a conversation with any background noise, and often takes a few extra minutes to understand what you’ve said. While this is a prime example of stereotyping an older adult (my bad), it also shows how certain age related challenges that can make socializing difficult.  

About 80% of older adults have age related hearing loss. Around 20% of older adults have age related vision changes. Many older adults also suffer from a speed of information processing decline. This means that they often take longer to process and give a response to a question or comment during a conversation.

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Dogs Are My Favorite Kind of People. Anthropomorphism as a Tool for Animal Activism

April 25th, 2022 No comments


Have you ever noticed that some people treat their dogs like their children? In my house, we treat our dogs like family members. They have human names, they sleep in bed with me, and we even all wear matching Christmas pajamas. When I talk about my dog Henry, I explain his anxiety, his grumpiness, and his great need for snuggles. When I talk about my dog Georgia, I explain her clinginess, her obsession with my dad, and her toddler-like antics. I talk about them as if they are other humans living in the home. Even while writing this blog post, I am dog-sitting for my friend’s parents. The parents left us pages of specific instructions talking through the dogs’ physical and emotional needs, just like a parent would for their children’s babysitter. 

Henry in his Christmas Pajamas

I don’t often think about why we do these things, because treating dogs like family seems so normal. But when we were learning about cognitive biases in my Cognitive Psychology course, I started to see the relationship between cognitive processes and this concept of dogs as family. The way that many people treat dogs is an example of anthropomorphism. Anthropomorphism, by definition, is the attribution of human characteristics to nonhuman entities like dogs. Many people view animals such as dogs and cats as companions, similar to human friends. When we see animals as similar to ourselves, we are more likely to treat them better. I am going to walk you through the benefits of anthropomorphizing animals, specifically how it can help to reduce animal cruelty and increase the ethical treatment of animals.

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