Monthly Archives: April 2014

Decisions, decisions, decisions!

Our prompt for this week’s blog is: “Think about a decision you have made recently. It can be a minor one, such as deciding which restaurant to go to on a Saturday evening, or a more important one such as a career move. Analyze this decision, taking into account the processes you went through to arrive at it and how you justified it in your mind as being a good decision.”

My husband and I are going on vacation soon and we had to decide what to do with our animals, a dog and cat, while we are gone. Our choices were the following: take them with us, ask my parents to watch them, ask a friend to watch them, or board them. They all are viable options but we had to look at each one independently in order to decide.

Take them with us: Although an advantage would be we would have our babies with us, we quickly ruled out this option as we are flying to our destination. Neither of our animals have flown before and I am unsure how the cat or the dog would handle the trip, even if it is a short flight. Another deterrent is that it’s expensive to fly pets and also expensive to find a hotel that will allow both cats and dogs. Plus, during the day, we would need to make frequent trips back to the hotel to check on them, which would hinder our vacation plans. We decided against this option and moved on to our next ones.

Ask my parents to watch them: Normally, this option would be my first choice as my parents coddle my babies like I do. 🙂 I know they are being well taken care of when i leave them with the grandparents. Other benefits are that is it low cost for us. My parents don’t charge us to watch the pets. We just have to adjust our schedules to find a time and date to meet my parents to drop off the pets as well as pay for our gas to and from the halfway point; however, as they just watched them for us earlier this month, we didn’t want to impose on their hospitality again and in such close duration. Unfortunately, this time around this option won’t work either.

Ask a friend to watch them: We have one really good friend in the area that we can ask to watch our pets for us. He doesn’t have any pets of his own and when he agrees to do this for us, it is usually as a favor as he likes animals but on a short-term basis. 🙂 Since we don’t want to take advantage of his goodwill or put him in an awkward situation, we try to sparingly ask him for these favors when the timing best benefits him, such as on a short weekend when he will be home the majority of the time, or when his favor can also coincide as a gift to us. For example, he watched our animals for us when we got married as our wedding present. As the timing of this trip doesn’t really work with either situation, we decided to not ask him in this case.

Board them: This is my least favorite of the options as it does cost us a fair amount of money, and I really don’t like boarding our babies. Unfortunately, in this situation, it turns out to be the best option due to the timing of the vacation and the schedules of everyone involved. No one’s homes will be inconvenienced by the addition of two animals. When we decided on this option, we also decided to use our regular vet to board them. This part of the decision process was easy as they are reasonably priced, already know our pets, and genuinely care about their welfare. As an added benefit of the boarding, our dog will be able to get her teeth cleaned using the no anesthesia option so when we pick her brother and her up she will have clean, fresh breath!

I justified coming to this decision as a good one because even though boarding them will bring added costs to our vacation, our pets will be cared for, will be in a safe place should an emergency occur, and we won’t have to worry about leaving them cooped up in a strange hotel room all day, which is unfair to them. As we have used our vet to board our babies before, I feel comfortable doing so again, especially since when we picked them up the last time they looked happy and well rested. Another justification in my mind is that boarding them is the most considerate option as it doesn’t require other people to adjust their lives and schedules.

Even though this decision will cost the most financially, emotionally it is the best choice. Loewenstein and Lerner (2003) discuss how both expected and immediate emotions can assist in the decision making process as immediate emotions can help one prioritize your options and expected emotions can help with determining the choice that will provide you with a sense of well-being, or peace of mind (p. 634). All in all, I am at peace with my decision about what to do with our animals and hopefully this peace will carry over into the actual vacation so that we can have lots of fun!


Loewenstein, G., & Lerner, J. S. (2003). The role of affect in decision making. In R. Davidson, K. Scherer, & H. Goldsmith (Eds), Handbook of affective science (pp. 619-642). Oxford University Press: New York. Retrieved from

Categories: Cognitive Psychology | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

Oh, the letter “N”

The prompt that I chose for this week’s blog post is, “Try to have a ten minute conversation with two different people in which you DO NOT use the letter ‘n.’ Write a reflection about the experience.”

When I looked at this week’s prompts and decided which one I would do, I thought to myself, “It won’t be hard at all to have a short conversation without using the letter “n.” Wrong! I mean, let’s stop right here and count the number of times I’ve used it already – 23 times and that’s if I didn’t miss any by skipping over the short words. It’s extremely difficult to talk without using the letter “n.” This letter is ubiquitous in our language. In my conversations, which I will discuss below, I couldn’t use the present progressive tense at all. I couldn’t even say the names of my talking partners as they both had the letter “n” in them. It was a very hindering and enlightening experience in that I realized how much I take for granted the use of English language.

I used my husband as one of my talking partners. I fully explained the prompt to him. We decided to try to talk normally but eliminate the letter “n” from all of our words. As you can imagine, it was a disaster. We didn’t even come close to 10 minutes. I think we actually only lasted for 2. We couldn’t understand each other and sometimes removing the letter “n” actually changed what we were trying to say. For example, take this sentence, “I can’t understand you.” Removing all the n’s it now looks like, “I cat uderstad you.” Which would sound like, “I cat udder stad you.” It makes no sense and changes the original context and meaning of the sentence. In my head, I know what I am trying to say, but to my husband it sounds like gibberish and even though he knows what we are trying to accomplish, it still doesn’t succeed. We can’t communicate with each other. The absence of that single phoneme makes a simple sentence incomprehensible and to me it reminded me of Goldstein’s (2011) discussion of patients with Broca’s aphasia; due to brain damage in the frontal lobe, they were unable to communicate clearly (p. 33).

With my second talking partner, I didn’t completely explain the prompt. I prefaced our conversation by saying that I wanted to do an experiment with him but didn’t provide details. I started our conversation with him by saying the following, “I am to talk without the use of a specific letter for my class.” As you can see from this sentence, the conversation on my part was very stilted and slow as I had many pauses while trying to figure out how to say what I wanted to say without using the letter “n.” My friend was able to guess the letter in question and he went on to ask me leading questions that normally I would be able to quickly answer but as the answers all contained the letter “n” I had to use a workaround. Here’s an example. He asked, “Can I have some money?” I couldn’t say no, nope, or nuh-uh. I had to shake my head and say uh-uh with enough emphasis to convey the negative tone. With this conversation, I was able to last about five minutes before I slipped up and said a word that had “n” in it. My partner enjoyed himself immensely in trying to trip me up.

On a funny  note, while I was trying to think of words I could say, I realized that many of our curse words do not, funnily enough, contain the letter “n.” I guess I could have liberally peppered my conversation with coarse language during my pauses. 🙂 I decided against doing this but do admit to uttering a few when I got stuck and when I slipped up.

Goldstein, E. B. (2011). Cognitive psychology: Connecting mind, research, and everyday experience (3rd ed.). Belmont, CA: Wadsworth, Cengage Learning.

Categories: Cognitive Psychology | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

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