Science

Brain Training Games

Demystifying the process of brain function improvement and illustrate the effectiveness of brain training programs, in this week’s show with Dr. Art Markman and Dr. Bob Duke.

Procrastination

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.

Do We Need Greed?

In this episode of Two Guys on Your Head, Dr. Art Markman and Dr. Bob Duke look at how we have evolved to engage in greedy behaviors but maybe for the wrong reasons, and why it’s not necessarily natural for us to be greedy as a species.

Jean Piaget

Jean Piaget was born in 1896 in Switzerland, and he died in 1980.  His background was in biology and he became especially fascinated with studying the psychological development of children. Piaget was a transformational researcher in the field of child developmental psychology.  In fact, he is still, to this day, the most cited psychologist in the field.

What exactly did Piaget do?  How did he change our understanding of human brain development from infancy to adulthood?  In this edition of  Two Guys on Your Head Dr. Art Markman and Dr. Bob Duke talk about Jean Piaget and his impact on the field of cognitive psychology.

How Does Psychological Distance Effect Us?

The idea of distance conjures up many images in our minds. We might be thinking of how wonderful it will be when we are retired and have time to spend with our loved ones, do some traveling, or play 18 holes of golf on a weekday. Or perhaps when we think of distance, we think of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and how far away the conflicts are from us.

For Art Markman and Robert Duke, how we process distance is particularly important, because it clues researchers in to how we think and make decisions as a result of distance.

Mental Illness From Outside

A talk about why it can be so hard to live with mental illness, as a sufferer and as a caregiver with Dr. Art Markman and Dr. Bob Duke.

The Persistence of False Beliefs

Our world these days is heavily laden with a constant flow of information moving through our minds.  It’s unavoidable.  How do we determine what of that steady information stream we will choose to believe?  Once we’ve made that choice, what if we later find out that the information was false?  How do we shed false beliefs?  It’s a very biologically expensive thing to demand from our brains to change our beliefs.

On this week’s show, the good doctors, Art Markman and Bob Duke, discuss with Rebecca and analyze the process of belief formation and why our false beliefs are so persistently insistent that we reconsider them. In short form, our beliefs inherently require a certain amount of faith in the validity of the evidence that we recognize as support for those beliefs.  An idea creates an imprint in our minds of the thought patterns that we use to justify our commitment to accepting a belief as true or false, whatever the case may be.

If we learn information later that challenges the validity of our belief, or if we downright learn that the belief was, in fact, false, we are then required to use our biological energy to create a new thought pattern imprint over the old one.  It’s energy expensive.

The easiest way to view the world and the variety of differing beliefs or opinions in it is to identify ourselves with the people who share our beliefs.  We tend to divide the world into two categories – 1) the people who share our beliefs, and 2) the idiots.  While this may conserve energy, which it does (and we are instinctively programmed to conserve our energy,) the more energy expensive option of considering and learning to appreciate differing beliefs or opinions is more socially appropriate.  You’ll have more friends if you are open to accepting differing beliefs, essentially.

Our current and rapidly developing technology-loaded existence can be very isolating.  Society, these days, doesn’t require much confrontation with differing beliefs that will challenge our own, so we have to manually inject such exposure into our lives.  In the non-stop stream of constant information flowing, try examining something outside your usual path.  If you identify as a Democrat, watch Fox News. If you’re a Republican, watch the Colbert Report.  You might find something interesting.

What’s The Difference Between Shame and Guilt?

When we feel guilt and shame after we’ve done something we know is wrong our heart may pound and we may feel sad, we might want to cry. Physiologically our response to both shame and guilt is the same, but cognitively the way we interpret these two emotions has consequences we may not realize.

In this edition of Two Guys on Your Head Dr. Art Markman and Dr. Bob Duke deconstruct the various dimensions of these two emotions

If we feel shameful after we’ve done something wrong we may want to hide away. We may feel that there is something fundamentally wrong with us and therefore atoning for our bad behavior is not possible.

Moreover, when we don’t feel we don’t have control over our actions and that rather it is our circumstance that “made us do it” we are more likely to repeat our transgression.

Guilt, on the other hand, can be a productive emotion in that when we feel we’ve done something wrong we can make up for it by confessing, apologizing or dealing with the behavior. It is the behavior that is bad but we are not bad people.

Yet there are still fundamental questions about the way we interpret the world through these two lenses.

The 18th century politician and philosopher Edmund Burke stated: “Guilt was never a rational thing; it distorts all the faculties of the human mind, it perverts them, it leaves a man no longer in the free use of his reason, it puts him into confusion.”

Coming up in a Views and Brews this fall we’ll continue to tackle the topic of guilt and shame with Two Guys on Your Head Live. We’ll ask: is there a difference in the way we interpret shame we can hide vs. shame we cannot hide? What happens when we feel guilty but cannot atone? How does shame and guilt relate to morality, reason and the way we process behavior daily?