Rebecca McInroy

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Rebecca McInroy is an award-winning show creator, host, and executive producer for KUT, KUTX and KUT.ORG.

Rebecca believes it is important that Public Media directly connects with the community it serves. Many of her programs combine the talent, and knowledge of the Austin community with the production arm of KUT/X Public Media to produce content that bridges the gap between the public and higher education.

She can be heard co-hosting the fortnightly food politics podcast The Secret Ingredient with food and agriculture corresponded for Mother Jones, Tom Philpott, and Raj Patel of the LBJ School of Public Affairs.

She is also the creator, executive producer, and host of the live discussion program in Austin, Texas Views and Brews.

She is the creator, executive producer, and editor of the national weekly radio program Two Guys on Your Head hosted by professors Art Markman and Bob Duke.

With her most recent projects she is the executive producer and editor of the documentary series Stuart Hall: In Conversations with host Dr. Ben Carrington about the life and legacy of the cultural theorist Stuart Hall, and the executive producer of This is Just To Say a podcast about poetry hosted by poet and novelist Carrie Fountain.

McInroy’s other programs include: The Write Up with Owen Egerton; In Perspective; and Liner Notes.

Ways to Connect

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Have you ever thought of a friend you haven't seen in a long time only to run into them the same day? Have you ever thought of a historical figure and had that same person be a clue in the New York Times crossword puzzle?

In this edition of Two Guys on Your Head, Dr. Art Markman and Dr. Bob Duke explain the psychology behind coincidence and why looking at the world through a more mathematical lens might help people see things differently.

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“..true music must repeat the thought and inspirations of the people and the time. My people are Americans and my time is today.” -George Gershwin

But what does it mean to be American? How did being a first generation American inform Gershwin's perspective? Was he always on the outside looking in? How does he, and the work he produced, embody the American dream? 

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Paranoia is an interesting feeling. People can, and often do, spin stories about almost anything. But most of the time, in functioning brains, people can check their stories with others to "collaborate" with reality, making them less likely to spiral downward into a paranoid state.

However, if cognitive functioning is impaired (from not getting enough sleep, drinking or drugs, or mental illness) it's more difficult to check in, and paranoid thoughts can run wild.

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This month’s episode of In Perspective explores what it means to be displaced or without a home. Our new roundtable participants ask: How do we define “home”? Is it a house? Is it family, a sense of community? Is it a place or a feeling?

The discussants share their perspectives, from the practical concerns of living on the streets of Austin, to the role of creative production in dealing with homelessness, to challenging notions of displacement and transience as unnatural. Ultimately, the discussion turns toward the ways in which our perceptions of home and homelessness influence our views on immigration, the need for refuge, and national identity.

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There's a time during childhood when something as innocuous as an impending bedtime can cause uncontrollable tears, screaming and thrashing. The question for parents and caregivers is: What's the best way to deal with a tantrum?

In this edition of Two Guys on Your Head, Dr. Art Markman and Dr. Bob Duke talk about why people throw temper tantrums and how to deal with them in the future.

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If you love soap operas, you are well aware that 1 in 10 people are likely to suffer head trauma and completely forget whether they are supposed to marry Brad, Bo, or Branna. But in real life that type of retrograde amnesia is not that common at all.

In this edition of Two Guys on Your Head, Dr. Art Markman and Dr. Bob Duke talk about the different types of amnesia and how we know what we do about memory loss.

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Doug Dorst is a wonder at words and worlds. He’s a master of bringing the known and unknown, the mundane and the strange, into immediate proximity to one another is such a way that the line begins to fade.

Whether it’s insecure police officers encountering restless ghosts romping through northern California in his debut novel Alive in Necropolis, or the dark inner lives of surf gurus and cake sculptors in his short story collection The Surf Guru, or the wild labyrinth voices, artifacts, and nightmarish locales of S.

On this edition of The Write Up, we speak with Dorst about his craft, his former life as a lawyer, his three victories on the game show Jeopardy and working with J.J. Abrams.

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"He slit a sheet, a sheet he slit, upon a slitted sheet he sits." Okay now, five times fast.

Tongue twisters and rhymes are a great way to entertain yourself and your friends at parties and on long road trips, but what makes for a good tongue twister and how do they work in the brain?

In this edition of Two Guys on Your Head, Dr. Art Markman and Dr. Bob Duke, talk about why tongue twisters are so effective, and why rhymes are so attractive.

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As a gift to our listeners, Dr. Art Markman and Dr. Bob Duke bring you a special holiday edition of Two Guys On Your Head. We'll explore questions about the link between freewill and gratitude, why we feel so compelled to recreate traditions exactly as we remember them, and why yawning is contagious. Plus, we'll take a trip to The Thinkery with Dr. Cristine Legare.

It's the holidays so let's celebrate with Two Guys on Your Head!

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A lot of times we may think our memories are accurate. We might rely on eye witness testimony to tell us the “truth” about what happened at a crime scene.

Yet, as Dr. Art Markman and Dr. Bob Duke point out in this episode of Two Guys on Your Head, our memories of certain events depend more on our interpretation of them, rather then how the events may have played out at the time.

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Merriam-Webster defines delusion as “a belief that is not true; a false idea.”

Being tagged as delusional can carry a negative connotation, but delusions can also breed positive outcomes, allowing a person to self-define in a way that could allow them to step out of their behavioral wheelhouse and reinvent themselves.

On this episode of Two Guys on Your Head, Dr. Bob Duke and Dr. Art Markman sit down with KUT’s Rebecca McInroy to explore human perception, how we objectively measure reality and how perception can sometimes lead to delusion.

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In this edition of In Perspective we teamed up with Views and Brews for a discussion on various elements of and debates over artificial intelligence, discussing what it actually means to think; how knowledge of computers' inner-workings affect our understanding of the human brain; and the future of artificial intelligence. 

Listen back as KUT's Rebecca McInroy discusses all things A.I. with philosopher Dr. Galen Strawson, computer scientist Dr. Peter Stone and novelist-poet Dr. Louisa Hall

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For many of us, Thanksgiving means spending time with our families, carrying out traditions that we’ve practiced for years.

While it can be very stressful, messy, and challenging to spend time with family members you don’t see very often, it can also be a beautiful time of re-centering. 

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Talking with Carrie Fountain is like grabbing a coffee with a dear friend you who leaves you feeling thrilled and more awake to the world around you.

The conversation with the award-winning poet in this episode of The Write Up spins to wonderfully surprising places, exploring parenting, mysticism, craft and her extraordinary new poetry collection Instant Winner.

But, whether it’s writing her next poem or facing a new parenting challenge, Fountain says she consistently strives to “always remain a beginner.”

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Why are extreme sports, like cross fit, rock climbing, snowboarding, mountaineering, rafting, cave diving, wakeboarding and even surfing so popular?  Well, it’s not just that they’re cool.

Activities that we can include in the category of extreme sports are all very physically challenging and involve some element of risk. But how could anyone's idea of thrill-seeking also be potentially life-threatening?

This week, the Two Guys, Dr. Art Markman and Dr. Bob Duke, discuss the appeal of extreme sports. 

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The human brain is perhaps the most complicated machine in the known universe, and the way we sometimes try to understand it’s capacity is to liken it to the most sophisticated artifacts we’ve created. The brain is hence “like a computer” and no longer like the “steam engine” it was compared to in the late 19th century.

The circuitry in the brain is made up of pretty basic materials, so it’s understandable that we would try to replicate it.  Yet it seems the more we learn about the brain, the more complex it becomes.The development of A.I., while it brings about a better understanding of how our brains work, it also generates more questions about what it means to be human.

What counts as “human”? Why is intelligence the marker of humanity? And what types of questions are currently vexing computer scientists, psychologists, and philosophers about A.I.?

In this edition of Two Guys on Your Head, Dr. Art Markman and Dr. Bob Duke take us through a brief history of the development of artificial intelligence, and pose some interesting questions about where we might be headed.

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We value brains. We hold test scores in high esteem. We spend money and hours on brain training games and ginseng. But what does intelligence really mean? How do we define and gauge actual smarts? Does a high IQ predict success?

In this episode of Two Guys on Your Head, Dr. Art Markman and Dr. Bob Duke talk about the history and development of intelligence tests; as well as what these tests can actually tell us about one's ability to achieve.

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Halloween will soon be upon us, and among the ghouls and goblins walking the streets, you might see someone dressed up an Ebola patient out asking for candy. How will you respond?

Would you buckle over in laughter, or would you be totally offended by this irreverent ode to this devastating threat?

In this edition of Two Guys on Your Head, Dr. Art Markman and Dr. Bob Duke discuss why we respond to fear and other uncomfortable and threatening situations with humor.

Louisa Hall

This month’s guest on "The Write Up" is novelist and poet Louisa Hall.

Louisa Hall’s life reads like a novel all its own – after graduating Harvard, she became a professional squash player, ranked second overall in the US. But near the height of her career, Hall abandoned the sport and headed to Texas to study literature at the University of Texas, write poetry, and begin working on her first novel.

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With the arrival of Ebola on U.S. soil came the wall-to-wall media coverage one might expect. 

But does saturated coverage of threats like the Ebola virus and Islamic State militants do more harm than good and inspire less-than-rational thinking? 

In this week's "Two Guys on Your Head," Dr. Art Markman and Dr. Bob Duke join KUT's Rebecca McInroy to talk about how the 24-hour news cycle causes readers, listeners and viewers to vicariously experience seemingly far-away threats, and how the availability of instant news causes some people to irrationally assess risks and threats. 

  

This month on "In Perspective," our roundtable participants discuss public memory in relation to grief, war, and memorials such as the National September 11 Memorial & Museum. Two of our guests represent that museum, which commemorates the September 11 attacks of 2001 and the World Trade Center bombing of 1993. Also joining us are two distinguished faculty from The University of Texas at Austin and by a call-in guest who is an assistant professor and filmmaker from Northwestern University.

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Happiness may be one of the most common and egalitarian of human emotions, but all aren't created equal when it comes to elation.

The work of Harvard’s Dan Gilbert speaks to findings in psychology that reveal that people have about a 50-10-40 ratio for happiness – 50 percent depends on genetic makeup; 10 percent depends on what happens to us throughout the day; and 40 percent is dependent on how we react to those environmental goings-on.

So, why is it some of us are more predisposed than others to see the glass as half empty as opposed to half full?

In this edition of “Two Guys on Your Head,” Dr. Art Markman and Dr. Bob Duke discuss how self-imposed strategies might give us an edge when it comes to feeling happier.

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Internet memes are a dime a dozen, but users young and old have undoubtedly seen, and quite possibly enjoyed, a good cat video or two.

Even if we have better things to do, it seems almost inhuman to resist clicking the "play" button above a cute kitten's face.

But why are those prolific time-wasters so irresistible? On this week’s edition of "Two Guys on Your Head," Dr. Art Markman, Dr. Bob Duke and host Rebecca McInroy discuss the animal magnetism of cat videos.

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You can go to the gym and work out your quads, or your biceps, or your balance and isolate those muscle groups to focus improvement of those areas of function with work. 

So it's not too far of a stretch to assume if we exercise specific areas of our brains might we see improvement in functions as well, right?  Unfortunately, it’s not quite so simple.

But have so many brain-training systems like Lumosity become so popular?

On this week’s show, Dr. Art Markman and Dr. Bob Duke will demystify the process of brain function improvement and illustrate the effectiveness of brain training programs.

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Procrastination is the all-too-familiar foe of productivity, but why do some wait until the last minute to even get a project started?

In this episode of "Two Guys on Your Head" Dr. Art Markman and Dr. Bob Duke explore the psychology behind procrastination, and how we can overcome factors that might be keeping us from getting started.

This summer’s escalation of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict has come to a relative stand-still with both sides currently holding to the cease-fire signed late last month. But many say the conflict is far from resolution.

In its inaugural episode, “In Perspective” invites subject matter experts from UT-Austin, New York University, and Rice University to discuss the conflict, its future and its impact on Israeli and Palestinian cultures with KUT’s Rebecca McInroy.

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Can you remember what it was like for you to learn your native language?  Probably not, but why is that?

As humans, we begin learning to speak our native language during the earliest stages of our lives, in infancy.  Most people don’t have many accessible memories from this period of development. How do we do that?

If we can learn a language in our infant stages of life, why is it so difficult to learn a second language later in life?

On this week’s episode of Two Guys on Your Head, Art Markman and Bob Duke explore how we learn language.

Manuel's Dad

Manuel Gonzales loves zombies. Especially self-loathing zombies with unrequited office crushes and enough makeup to hide their undead identity.

His story collection, The Miniature Wife and Other Stories (Riverhead), is populated with zombies, werewolves, unicorns and other monsters and misfits. But Gonzales re-imagines these familiar figures in hilarious and heartbreaking ways. With deft humor and compassion, Gonzales makes what could be over-tread ground fresh and newly strange.

As funny as the stories often are, they also bubble with moments of dread and outright terror. But the terror comes from unexpected sources. Gonzales’ werewolf in the story Wolf” is not nearly as horrifying as the relative trying to kill it. The mad scientist in the title story isn’t as haunting as the murderous wife he “unintentionally" shrunk to the height of a coffee cup, and the unicorn in  “One-Horned & Wild-Eyed” is more eerie than beautiful and dangerously seductive.

Gonzales carries his playfulness into form, as well. Obituaries, pseudo-journalism, and voice-driven monologues fill the pages. The book is a weird, glorious ride that never leaves you less than surprised. 

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We may think of our memory functioning much like a movie camera does; capturing a scene and replaying it in a linear fashion. Yet, in actuality, it’s more like catching bits of paper at a ticker tape parade and weaving together a story of the past by re-constructing the pieces of paper we and others around us catch.

In this edition of Two Guys on Your Head, Dr. Art Markman and Dr. Bob Duke explain how and why we construct memories, and how our memories can be influenced by variables that we may never consider.

If you’ve seen "Ferris Bueller’s Day Off" or ever been in a classroom, you know that school can sometimes be very boring. However, learning and coming up with ideas in an environment with others in our social group should be fun! So why do schools get such a bad rap?

In this episode of Two Guys on Your Head Dr. Art Markman and Dr. Robert Duke talk about some of the historical and present day factors that contribute to why school is so boring, and offer a few suggestions for a brighter future.

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