Texas Standard: January 15, 2019

The nation’s first execution of 2019 is set for today. But it won’t happen. The Texas court of criminal appeals orders a second look at bite mark evidence used in a murder trial, we’ll have more. Also, the political committee behind the upset victory of democratic congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez has a new objective: to topple a veteran congressman from Texas who’s a fellow democrat. We’ll hear why. Plus, is the shutdown saving the government money? An expert does the math and more today on the Texas Standard:

No Mask? … No Mask!

Don your face paint, costumes and masks for Halloween, but don’t forget that it’s not always movie monsters or villains that are the scariest ghouls to haunt our waking days. That was the inspiration for this Typewriter Rodeo poem.


We might feel like we’ve been duped when we believe a lie someone has told us, and we may want to crawl into a hole when we share “fake news” on Facebook. But in actuality, we have evolved to trust vs. to question, which is why our tendency toward credulity is easily taken advantage of.

In this edition of Two Guys on Your Head, Dr. Art Markman and Dr. Bob Duke talk about the psychology of what is known as “gaslighting” and how to put checks in place so you are less susceptible to being taken for a ride.

Fake News

Did you hear the latest? Did you see that Tweet? They’re talking about it on cable news. We’re all getting a free car tomorrow!

Oh wait, maybe not.


“Thou shalt not steal” might be an old concept, but when it comes to ideas we’re still in the infant stages of understanding how theft works. So we might ask, “why does it matter if someone plagiarizes someone else? It’s not like I took an object from someone else.”

It turns out, it’s a big deal. In this edition of Two Guys on Your Head, Dr. Art Markman and Dr. Bob Duke talk about why.

How To Catch a Liar

There’s no such thing as a “tell”. For example, when people look up, fidget or stutter they might just be nervous, and not exactly lying. However, because we rely on the truth to make our culture go round, it might make our lives easier if we could just spot a liar out of the crowd.

As it turns out you can tell if people are telling the truth or not, but it takes some skill, time and knowledge.

In this edition of Two Guys on Your Head, Dr. Art Markman and Dr. Bob Duke talk about lying, and a new study that reveals a more accurate way to catch someone in a lie.

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.