Two Guys on Your Head

Each week on Two Guys on Your Head, Dr. Art Markman and Dr. Bob Duke, explore different aspects of human behavior and the brain.

In conversations hosted by producer Rebecca McInroy, the two renowned psychologists cover everything from the effects of sugar on the brain, to what's happening in our minds while we sleep, and much, much more.

Listen to the Two Guys every Friday at 7:51 a.m., 1:49 and 4:51 p.m. on KUT-FM. You can always dig into the posts below or checkout and subscribe to podcasts via iTunes

We'd love to know what you're curious about!  Email us your topics and suggestions at twoguys@kut.org. And follow Two Guys on Twitter: @2GoYH

Have you ever told someone, "Hey, I read that book!" then continued with a guilty, "Well, I listened to the audio version." 

It's time to wash that guilt right out of your soul, because in this edition of Two Guys on Your Head, Dr. Art Markman and Dr. Bob Duke, talk about how our brains process information differently based on how we consume it.


In this edition of Two Guys on Your Head, Dr. Art Markman and Dr. Bob Duke talk about the psychology of political polarization.

On a recent Views and Brews at The Cactus Cafe, Dr. Art Markman, and Dr. Bob Duke talked about how to process tragedy through media in uncertain times.

You can listen to the full conversation here, but we wanted to bring you a bit of it on this week's edition of Two Guys on Your Head.


There’s a popular conception that people who are gifted musicians are also skilled mathematician, or vice versa.

However, there isn't a whole lot of data suggesting any links in the brain between these aptitudes. As Dr. Art Markman and Dr. Bob Duke explain in this edition of Two Guys on Your Head, we often underestimate the role emotions play in what we believe to be true.

It seems that people today carry with them the constant mantra "I'm so busy." It can be tough to juggle work, kids and life in general, but a lot of that feeling of being overwhelmed may be our own fault.

In this edition of Two Guys on Your Head, Dr. Art Markaman and Dr. Bob Duke talk about the value of boredom, and how to get the most out of your downtime to feel more in control and less stressed.

It can be said that ignorance is bliss. When it comes to football, that was the case for our own Dr. Bob Duke. A lifelong football fan, Duke was thrown into a dilemma by a recent Boston University study that found that "chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), a progressive, degenerative brain disease found in people with a history of repeated head trauma, may be more common among football players than previously thought."

The question then became: How can a person who has dedicated his life to studying and teaching about the brain support a spectacle that is so damaging to the brain?

On this edition of Two Guys on Your Head, he and Dr. Art Markman discuss what it means to be a fan of football knowing what we now know.

Writer’s block: The phrase might induce panic. It’s a common phenomenon. So what is it and why do we get it?

“Hey, you know, you’re really good at that.” That feels good to hear, doesn’t it?

Praise always feels good to hear, but not all praise motivates us to try new things, challenge ourselves or deal with failure.

In this episode of Two Guys on Your Head, Dr. Art Markman and Dr. Bob Duke discuss how to praise in a productive and meaningful way.

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A traumatic event in life is like a scratch on a record. Every time the record player, or your mind, runs over the scratch, it skips. 

This skipping record thought pattern is called rumination. Until we’re able to fill the scratch, it will keep skipping. So how do we fill the scratch, move on and heal?

On this episode of Two Guys on Your Head, Dr. Art Markman and Dr. Bob Duke talk about the various ways we live with and explain grief, and they offer some strategies that might help it make sense.

As gratifying as applied research is, to set out to answer a specific research question, it's not always the best way to come up with new ideas, discover new things and develop understanding. For these things you need basic research or just a curiosity about the world and how it works.

In this edition of Two Guys on Your Head, Dr. Art Markman and Dr. Bob Duke talk about the psychology of  pronouns, determiners, conjunctions and prepositions, and why it's so hard for us to change them.

In this edition of Two Guys on Your Head, Dr. Art Markman and Dr. Bob Duke talk about the relationship between pain and the brain, touching on the evolution of pain as retribution, both biologically and culturally.

Linguistic theories give us the idea that language determines how and what we think. However, looking at the psychology behind how we use language could point in another direction.

In this edition of Two Guys on Your Head, Dr. Art Markman and Dr. Bob Duke talk about how nouns can teach us a lot about how our brains create and influence language use.

In this episode of Two Guys on Your Head, Dr. Art Markman and Dr. Bob Duke talk about the unintended consequences of policy, and how psychology can help us discover which policies work and why – or why not.

Struggle has a way of defining us. But while we often use struggles to teach lessons and build resilience, a struggle without a purpose doesn't always yield positive results.

In this edition of Two Guys on Your Head, Dr. Art Markman and Dr. Bob Duke talk about the difference between struggling and suffering, and why it matters.


Many people feel in over their heads when they enter a challenging situation or new job. And, while conventional wisdom suggests those with trepidations about trying new things should "fake it 'til they make it," that may not always be the best course of action.

On this edition of Two Guys on Your Head, Dr. Bob Duke and Dr. Art Markman discuss what's known as "imposter syndrome" — the practice of pretending to be the person you want people to see you as rather than who you truly are — and explain why it may just be better to start working toward your goals instead of faking it.


  Humiliation can make us feel small and insignificant, so why do humans humiliate one another?

In this episode of Two Guys on Your Head, Dr. Art Markman and Dr. Bob Duke talk about the psychology of humiliation and how you can make choices in your life to prevent you from feeling humiliated when the bullies strike.

Mengwen Cao for KUT

In this episode of Two Guys on Your Head, Dr. Art Markman and Dr. Bob Duke deconstruct two such terms – significance and theory – and talk about why knowing how they're used in a scientific context can help us better understand the scientific process.

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On the last episode of Two Guys on Your HeadDr. Art Markman and Dr. Bob Duke talked about how to influence behavior using rewards and direction. However, things aren't that simple when it comes to building and motivating teams – especially in the workplace.

In this follow-up episode, they discuss how to structure rewards at work for the best long-term results.


What you say and what you do influences the behavior of other people. However, as Dr. Art Markman and Dr. Bob Duke point out in this edition of Two Guys on Your Head, the ability to influence human behavior isn’t always so black and white.

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If you think that online rants may make you feel better, you may be half-right.

In this episode of  Two Guys on Your Head, Dr. Art Markman and Dr. Bob Duke discuss how sharing your problems online can give you the tools you need to deal with issues more effectively in daily life and how helping others with their affairs can get our minds off of our own.


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Why is hard to say no? Why don't we take into account the opportunity cost when we're considering our options?

While saying yes is very important, we might be too prone toward saying yes to things when we should be saying no.

In this edition of Two Guys on Your Head, Dr. Art Markman and Dr. Bob Duke talk about how to practice saying no, and why it matters.

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Data is great, but it can't tell you everything you need to know. So why do we love it so much?

In this edition of Two Guys on Your Head, Dr. Art Markman and Dr. Bob Duke talk about the upsides and the downsides of metrics.


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Many soon-to-be graduates might be asking themselves what the next step is after graduation. 

On this edition of Two Guys on Your Head, Dr. Art Markman and Dr. Bob Duke talk about how to deal with the lows that come after you complete a major goal.

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When we bottle things up, we overlook healthy ways to deal with anger and effectively influence behavior.

In this edition of Two Guys on Your Head, Dr. Art Markman and Dr. Bob Duke answer a listener question about suppressing anger.

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What is the point of hate, and why did it persist as we evolved?

In this episode of Two Guys on Your Head Dr. Art Markman and Dr. Bob Duke talk about the psychology of hate.

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Have you ever wondered why some people are always punctual, even early, while others are perpetually late? In this edition of Two Guys on Your Head, Dr. Art Markman and Dr. Bob Duke talk about some of the psychology behind synchronizing our cultural and personal clocks, and how to put yourself in a less anxious space no matter who you are.

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You might think that cell phones make everything worse. We can't remember phone numbers anymore, we are addicted to checking texts and emails and we end up taking thousands of pictures. So, can any good ever come of obsessive phone use? 

As Dr. Art Markman and Dr. Bob Duke discuss in this episode of Two Guys on Your Head, it's not all bad. We may actually be remembering more moments because of the photos we're taking and the way we're engaging with the world through our phones. But, then again, there is more to any story, and the jury is still out on this one.

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Have you ever caught sight of a celebrity or someone you consider to be a "star" and, even though you're a completely intelligent, interesting and charismatic person, you turn to mush when you say hello to him or her?

In this edition of Two Guys on Your Head, Dr. Art Markman and Dr. Bob Duke talk about the evolution behind our weird interactions with celebrities, and the psychology of being starstruck.

Do Brain Games Make You Smarter?

Mar 24, 2017
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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 why 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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