Alicia Choina

Science
8:14 am
Fri April 18, 2014

Why Being Put On Hold is So Frustrating

flickr.com/billybrown00

Horrible music, incredible wait times and an inscrutable labyrinth of phone prompts: We've all experienced the frustrations of being on hold. Even when we are on hold for a minute or so, blood pressure can spike when an automated voice answers the phone.

Why is being on hold so annoying? In this edition of Two Guys on Your Head Dr. Art Markman and Dr. Bob Duke take us through the good, the bad, and the ugly of being on hold.

Read more
Two Guys on Your Head
7:58 am
Fri April 11, 2014

How to Deal With Road Rage

Flickr user Matt Boyd, flic.kr/ps/iEtmA

Austin is now ranked as the fourth worst city in the nation for traffic. According to an annual traffic scorecard, Austinites waste an average of 41 hours in traffic annually. 

It’s no wonder then that we're encountering more vehicular aggression on overcrowded Austin roads. So what’s happening in our brains when we encounter that familiar feeling of intense frustration we call road rage? The Two Guys on Your Head, Dr. Art Markman and Dr. Bob Duke, break it down in this week’s episode.

Read more
Two Guys on Your Head
8:15 am
Fri March 21, 2014

How Metaphors Transform Simple Words Into Complex Concepts

Yes, there are other fish in the sea. But metaphors let us use them to communicate more fundamental truths about our human condition.
Greg McFall/ONMS, flickr.com/usoceangov

Ever have those moments when you just can’t find the right words to express your thoughts? They happen. Articulation isn’t always easy.

Sometimes, words or language alone can't accurately express the complexity of thought. At those times, it can be very helpful to use an analogy or a metaphor to illustrate the fullness of the concept being expressed. Analogies and metaphors allow us to communicate complex concepts or ideas that transcend simple words. 

If you have a desire to develop good analogies or metaphors, the Two Guys on Your Head, Dr. Art Markman and Dr. Bob Duke, have some tips that will blow your mind – metaphorically speaking. 

Read more
Two Guys on Your Head
9:02 am
Fri March 14, 2014

How Our Brains Process Time

Our brains perceive time differently in different circumstances. Listen to the Two Guys break it down.
flickr.com/martinaphotography

Time flies when you're having fun, the old saying goes. But how can time – maybe the most fundamental concept of the universe – feel different under different conditions?

Our brains perceive time differently in different circumstances. When we pay close attention to something, tedium can set in and it can feel like time slows to a crawl.

Conversely, if our lives demand we juggle several different things at once, we tend to pay less attention to some activities – and time races by in a flash.

Read more
Two Guys on Your Head
8:50 am
Fri March 7, 2014

How Going Out is Good for Your Brain

While a deafening concert may not do your brain a lot of good, social interaction with other humans does.
Christian Holmér, christianholmer.com

Human beings are a social species. Our natural programming requires a certain amount of social contact with other people. 

Shared experiences are simply a fundamental component of our needs as humans. We don’t just have a need for direct interaction and verbal communication either – there's all sorts of nonverbal communicative actions we take in the presence of others that we wouldn’t do alone.

In this installment of Two Guys on Your Head, Dr. Art Markman and Dr. Bob Duke take us through the psychological benefits of "going out" and mingling with our fellow humans.

Read more
Two Guys on Your Head
9:09 am
Fri February 28, 2014

How to Crush Writer's Block

Credit justtegan.com

Writer’s block! That phrase might induce panic and a recollection of a familiar experience. It’s a very common phenomenon. So what is it?

When in the beginning stages of undertaking a new writing project, a writer might find themselves blocked – stuck in front of a blank page or screen with no thoughts coming to mind. This lack of creative flow is further exacerbated by anxiety over the lack of production – making it a self-perpetuating cycle that can lead to stagnation. 

In this edition of Two Guys on Your Head, Dr. Art Markman and Dr. Bob Duke explain the ins and outs of how and why we sometimes get stuck – and what we can do to help ourselves in those difficult situations.  

Read more
Two Guys on Your Head
10:24 am
Fri February 21, 2014

Why All Praise is Not Created Equal

Credit mvyso.blogspot.com

“Hey, you’re smart!”  That feels good to hear, doesn’t it?  Praise always feels good, 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.

In summary, when giving or receiving praise, it’s a helpful skill to think about where that praise is directed.  

Read more
Two Guys on Your Head
3:39 pm
Fri October 18, 2013

How to Learn From Failure

Success and failure: What's the difference? What's the value?
Credit stockmonkey.com

Failure is a scary word that carries a very negative connotation: “I’m a failure.” “He’s a failure.” “I don’t want to be a failure.” 

The word failure arouses emotional responses that we’d usually rather avoid.  What about the word success  The thought of success arouses images of comfort, ease and satisfaction.  Why?  It’s because of something in our brains. 

We’re wired with a dopamine reward system that releases positive or negative chemical affect in our brains depending upon the success or failure of our efforts.  Success feels good, while failure feels bad.  So we tend to seek success and avoid failure. It’s simple.  

But hang on a minute and let the Two Guys on Your Head, Dr. Art Markman and Dr. Bob Duke, tell you about a function of failure that is too often overlooked and discredited: Failure is a learning tool. 

Read more
Two Guys on Your Head
1:12 pm
Fri October 11, 2013

Who Controls Your Destiny?

Should I stay or should I go? Recognizing our ability to get up and leave stressful situations represents an internal locus of control – a belief in our inherit ability to control situations.
flickr.com/asoundtrackforeveryone

So how do we define Locus of Control?  Essentially, it’s our positioning of ourselves within our perception of the world and the way that we perceive our power and influence. We can either feel in control of our lives – which is reassuring – or we can feel subjected to forces outside of our control – which we are then forced to endure. When that happens, we can feel stuck. 

Feeling stuck, with no other options, often leads to prolonged periods of stress. That in turn can depress our health – physically, mentally and emotionally. But since we construct our perceptions of reality, we have the option to shift our locus of power. That way we can then redefine the source of power in any circumstance – taking it when needed, or giving it up when needed. (In some stressful circumstances, having less control over the outcome of a situation can actually be preferred.)

Read more