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 And follow Two Guys on Twitter: @2GoYH

"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.

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!


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.

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.

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.

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. 


Time marches on and, whether we like it or not, we age.
With age comes a decline in both physical abilities and mental acuity. Memory and cognition peak in our early twenties, then we begin a slow, steady decline of those functions as we approach our senior years. 

This week on "Two Guys on Your Head," Dr. Art Markman and Dr. Bob Duke join host Rebecca McInroy to discuss how physical and mental stimuli can help combat the signs and symptoms of old age, stave off memory loss and help you be at your best well into your golden years.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Let It Go!

Aug 22, 2014

“He did it!” "She hit me first!” “He never said he was sorry!” "She doesn’t care if I forgive her so why should I?”

From the time we are very small, our interpersonal relationships are based on conflict. How does the saying go? You can please some of the people some of the time, but you’re not gonna fool me a second time… Hmmm we’ll look that up later. In the mean time please forgive us for getting it wrong.

Why? You may ask.

In this edition of Two Guys on Your Head Dr. Art Markman and Dr. Bob Duke talk about the psychological purpose of forgiveness.

We've passed the 4th of July, Christmas is a ways away, and New Year’s isn't for months So why, you may ask, is Two Guys on Your Head doing a show on celebration?

Aside from the show being on-air for a year, we've got a lot to celebrate and so do you—even though you might not think so right away.

In this edition of Two Guys on Your Head, Dr. Art Markman and Dr. Bob Duke discuss the evolutionary reasons behind the importance of celebration, gratitude, and achievement.