Science

Two Guys on Your Head
8:52 am
Fri April 4, 2014

Why Meetings Feel Like They Take Forever - and How to Fight That

Flickr user reynermedia, https://flic.kr/ps/2mRc3m

Does size matter when it comes to meetings? 

Actually, yes. It’s not a myth. Contrary to popular belief, when it comes to meetings, it’s better to keep it on the small side. Short and sweet is best.

Efficiency of the shared time spent during a meeting is a primary determinant of its potential for effectiveness. The Two Guys, Dr. Art Markman and Dr. Bob Duke, break down the best practices to ensure that the meetings you call will achieve their intended purpose. 

Give it a listen.

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Listen to This
12:23 pm
Mon March 24, 2014

These Sound Engineers Used One Weird Trick to Bend the Laws of Physics

University of Texas researchers discovered a way to move air so that sound waves move one way, but not the other.
flickr.com/tessawatson

Update: Listen to this story on WBUR's Here and Now.

Original story (Feb. 28): You know how on cop shows, suspects get interrogated in a cramped room with a mirror on one wall? And on the other side, there's a prosecutor or other cops watching through the glass.

Those mirrors are kind of an illusion done with lighting. But the effect also illustrates perfectly how difficult it can be to break a pretty fundamental law of nature.

A group of engineers at UT has figured out how to bend – if not break – that law when it comes to sound.

Listen:

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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. 

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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.

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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.

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SXSW 2014
1:01 pm
Thu March 6, 2014

SXSW Tech Preview: Snooping, Wearables And More 3-D Printing

Hugh Forrest, pictured here in 2009, is the director of South by Southwest Interactive.
Scott Beale Flickr

Originally published on Thu March 6, 2014 11:03 am

South by Southwest Interactive is the technology-driven part of the annual Austin-based festival for digital, film and music and it starts on Friday. An expected 30,000 people will take part in the interactive and film week that precedes music, and they love it for the spontaneity and the chaos. They also hate it because of the chaos — parties on every corner, marketing handouts at every turn and a sprawling program of panels, screenings and speakers that span at least a dozen city blocks in the heart of Texas.

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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.  

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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.  

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Two Guys on Your Head
10:28 am
Fri February 14, 2014

Life After Loss: How to Reshape, Move On and Let it Go

Credit holykaw.alltop.com

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.

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Views and Brews
11:37 am
Wed February 12, 2014

Steven Weinberg: A Life in Science

Credit photo by Matt Valentine

Tuesday’s Views and Brews discussion on "The Elegance of Physics with Dr. Steven Weinberg" was a standing room only event. Some patient fans of the Nobel Prize winning physicist were turned away because the event was at capacity despite of the chilly and wet night.

Professor Steven Weinberg is a Nobel laureate in physics, a theoretical physicist and  an outspoken thinker on topics ranging from nuclear weapons to atheism. But this night was about Weinberg’s life, career and development – not just as a thinker, but as an artist in his field.

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Two Guys on Your Head
2:21 pm
Fri February 7, 2014

Why Personality Tests Don't Tell What You Need To Know

Introverted or extroverted? Fans of personality tests might want to ask, what's in a name?
Credit healthmeup.com

When it comes to the Myers-Briggs personality type test, are you an introvert or an extrovert? Do you focus on sensing, or do you use your intuition to interpret information that you absorb? 

Does it matter?  Why is it so entertaining and satisfying for some people to answer these questions about themselves and others in their lives? 

Listen to the show and let the Two Guys, Dr. Art Markman and Dr. Bob Duke, demystify the wiry world of  personality tests for you.

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Technology
2:37 pm
Mon February 3, 2014

U.S. One Step Closer To Future Where Cars Talk To Each Other

An illustration showing how a vehicle-to-vehicle communication system would work.
U.S. Department Of Transportation

Originally published on Mon February 3, 2014 2:50 pm

The United States is one step closer to a future where cars will communicate with each other to avoid accidents.

The Department of Transportation announced on Monday it was moving forward with the steps necessary to one day mandate vehicle-to-vehicle — V2V — communication technology on light automobiles.

The big deal here is that research — including a 3,000-vehicle test of the system in Ann Arbor, Mich. — finds that V2V technology has the potential to "help drivers avoid or mitigate 70 to 80 percent of vehicle crashes involving unimpaired drivers."

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Two Guys on your head
8:40 am
Fri January 31, 2014

What's Going On Inside the Adolescent Brain?

There’s endless questions we could ask about how the brain works. A particularly interesting one: what's unique about the brain during adolescence?

During adolescence our brains are wired differently than adult brains will be – and for good reason. In adolescence our brains are in a process of development – so we’re less inhibited, allowing us to take the risks we need to learn about the world. In addition, the difference in brain physiology has other ramifications on behavior and needs. Ignoring them can make life more difficult for kids and parents.

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Two Guys on Your Head
10:59 am
Fri January 24, 2014

Debunking Myths Behind Different Learning Styles

Credit sharpschool.com

Are you an auditory learner or a visual learner?  If you answered "yes" you would be right. That's because we use all our senses to learn and process information.

In this edition of Two Guys On Your Head, Dr. Art Markman and Dr. Bob Duke dispel the myths behind learning styles preferences: they don’t really exist. 

Our reliance on the theories of learning styles to explain our success or failure of understanding certain information is actually serving our human need to put things into categories – combined with our need to explain things when they don’t work. 

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Food
3:21 pm
Tue January 21, 2014

Whole Foods Bans Produce Grown With Sludge. But Who Wins?

A woman shops in the produce section at Whole Foods in New York City. The company recently announced it would prohibit produce farmed using biosolids in its stores.
Stephen Chernin/Getty Images

Originally published on Tue January 21, 2014 5:55 pm

If you've ever shopped at Whole Foods, you've probably noticed that some of the foods it sells claim all kinds of health and environmental virtues. From its lengthy list of unacceptable ingredients for food to its strict rules for how seafood is caught and meat is raised, the company sets a pretty high bar for what is permitted on its coveted shelves.

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Two Guys on Your Head
3:50 pm
Thu January 16, 2014

I Think I'm Thinking, Therefore I Am?

Credit 123rf.com

As human beings, we are, in fact, creatures.  Like any other living organism, energy conservation is of highest priority to our vibrant being, whether we are consciously aware of that fact and its influence over our behavior or not.  So, how does that affect our decisions in life? 

In this edition of Two Guys on Your Head, Dr. Art Markman and Dr. Bob Duke discuss two great minds in psychology, and the founders of Behavioral Economics, Daniel Kahneman and Amos Tversky.

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Two Guys on Your Head
11:03 am
Fri January 10, 2014

Does Money Really Make You Happy?

Credit flickr.com/photos/76657755@N04/

The idea that money doesn't make you happy is easy to get behind if you have it, but if you don't it can be a hard concept to buy into (pun intended). Yet the correlation between money and happiness is more complicated then one might think.

In this edition of Two Guys on Your Head Dr. Art Markman and Dr. Bob Duke explain the relationship between money, security, opportunity, memory, and happiness.

Science
6:00 am
Mon January 6, 2014

How Do Infants Understand and React to Music? – UT Professor Investigates

Andrea and Magdalene Robison partipate in a study at UT's Infant Music Lab.
Laura Rice, KUT News

For many people, most days would not be complete without music. Whether it's exercising to your favorite playlist or jamming along to the radio on your way home for work. 

But how much do infants get out of music? And are there types of music that babies prefer?

A professor at the Children’s Research Laboratory on the University of Texas at Austin campus is trying to find out.

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Two Guys on Your Head
9:20 am
Fri January 3, 2014

Why We Crave Sugar

Credit youngbrokeandhungry.com

Why is it hard to have just one of those delicious slices of pound cake over the holidays? Well, it turns out it has less to do with the creamy butter and more to do with the way our brains react to those sweet white grains of sugar.

In this edition of Two Guys on Your Head, Dr. Art Markman and Dr. Bob Duke discuss the ways our brains respond to sugar by releasing dopamine.

While we may think this dopamine is supposed to make us feel good, what the chemicals in our brains are trying to do is to teach us that this sugar is a good thing and that we want more of it for our survival.

This might have been beneficial to us 150,000 years ago, but with sweets in every candy dish, gas station and coffee shop, craving sugar has its consequences.

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Two Guys on Your Head
11:00 am
Fri December 27, 2013

How To Make Effective Changes in The New Year

Credit edutopia.org

It’s that time of the year when we resolve to drink less, exercise more, save money, etc.

It may feel really good to intend to do “better” in the new year, but as Dr. Art Markman and Dr. Bob Duke explain in this edition of Two Guys on Your Head, real change takes planning and hard work.

Why is that? It turns out we have no idea why we do most of the things we do on a daily basis. And as long as our behaviors are driven by factors that operate below our conscious awareness, we may not know how to change.

As the Two Guys point out, effective change can happen when we start from the outside in. When we look at our environments first we can make space and cultivate relationships that help us become best selves.

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