Review Comment

[PSYC W2250] Evolution Of Cognition

April 12, 2018

Terrace, Herbert
[PSYC W2250] Evolution Of Cognition

Please trust the reviews dating all the way to the early 2000s - Herbert Terrace is the reason that tenure should be abolished.

The class contains little more information than did Science of Psychology. Actually, that's not true; now I know what the field of psychology was working through in the 1990s, because that's the last time Terrace bothered to update any of his course materials.

Ironically enough, he doesn't even update the information he has on human evolution, despite that being a central unit of the course. And even the information he does have misrepresents the most widely accepted theories of evolution. The readings are (still!!) mostly drawn from the textbook manuscript he's been trying to publish since 1999. Spoiler alert, Herb: nobody's gonna publish it!

Terrace is condescending and rude to students during class. He often interrupts people while they answer his questions, or simply chuckles at their answer and provides no response to them. But if you simply repeat verbatim what he said, you'll get a smug smile and a knowing, dry sip of his morning Fresca soda.

The tests were maybe the most frustrating part of the class. The questions are still poorly worded and intentionally try to trick you with arcane syntax and multiple correct answers. It's clear that Terrace doesn't want to test your knowledge but test your ability to regurgitate his idiosyncratic material exactly as he teaches it. Two students during a test had to go argue with the TA (since Terrace doesn't even bother to come on test days) about a question on human evolution.

Also, if you're interested in the class because of Nim Chimpsky, don't waste your time. First, watch the movie. No need to listen to Terrace moan about having to raise a chimp in groundbreaking research, then completely throw out the results. Spoiler Alert: Terrace ended the experiment and the chimp ended up in pharmaceutical research being sedated and injected. Terrace didn't even bother to say goodbye to an animal that he raised as a human child.

Dear Herb: if you're reading this, do everyone a favor and retire so the Psych department can hire an actual scientist and professor.

Workload:

3 tests, weekly P/F quizzes that you can retake until you pass (not that you'll need to), and an optional final. If you choose to take the final, your lowest test grade will be dropped. Illiterate and sometimes contradictory readings with little more information than you can glean from sitting idly in class.

November 08, 2016

Terrace, Herbert
[PSYC W2250] Evolution Of Cognition

While his socratic teaching method was at first a little foreign, after a few weeks in the class I actually appreciated how this teaching style invoked deeper thought on my part which ultimately led to a deeper understanding of the material. With regards to the course layout, I found the order to which the material was presented to be extremely logical and easy to follow. It is very obvious that Professor Terrace is extremely knowledgeable in this subject which made going to lecture a very informative and thought provoking experience. The amount of information that we were held responsible for was very manageable and I felt it was introduced at a very reasonable rate.

Lastly, I highly recommend taking this class at the same time as Science of Psychology if you need that requirement as well as so much of the material overlaps.

Workload:

The work load is beyond fair with weekly quizzes, three multiple choice exams, no final and no papers!

November 08, 2016


[PSYC W2250] Evolution Of Cognition

While his socratic teaching method was at first a little foreign, after a few weeks in the class I actually appreciated how this teaching style invoked deeper thought on my part which ultimately led to a deeper understanding of the material. With regards to the course layout, I found the order to which the material was presented to be extremely logical and easy to follow. It is very obvious that Professor Terrace is extremely knowledgeable in this subject which made going to lecture a very informative and thought provoking experience. The amount of information that we were held responsible for was very manageable and I felt it was introduced at a very reasonable rate.

Lastly, I highly recommend taking this class at the same time as Science of Psychology if you need that requirement as well as so much of the material overlaps.

Workload:

The workload is beyond fair. Weekly quizzes and three multiple choice exams with no final. Couldn't ask for a better workload.

November 08, 2016

Terrace, Herbert
[PSYC W2250] Evolution Of Cognition

While his socratic teaching method was at first a little foreign, after a few weeks in the class I actually appreciated how this teaching style invoked deeper thought on my part which ultimately led to a deeper understanding of the material. With regards to the course layout, I found the order to which the material was presented to be extremely logical and easy to follow. It is very obvious that Professor Terrace is extremely knowledgeable in this subject which made going to lecture a very informative and thought provoking experience. The amount of information that we were held responsible for was very manageable and I felt it was introduced at a very reasonable rate.

Lastly, I highly recommend taking this class at the same time as Science of Psychology if you need that requirement as well as so much of the material overlaps.

Workload:

The workload is beyond fair. Weekly quizzes and three multiple choice exams with no final. Couldn't ask for a better workload.

November 08, 2016


[PSYC W2250] Evolution Of Cognition

While his socratic teaching method was at first a little foreign, after a few weeks in the class I actually appreciated how this teaching style invoked deeper thought on my part which ultimately led to a deeper understanding of the material. With regards to the course layout, I found the order to which the material was presented to be extremely logical and easy to follow. It is very obvious that Professor Terrace is extremely knowledgeable in this subject which made going to lecture a very informative and thought provoking experience. The amount of information that we were held responsible for was very manageable and I felt it was introduced at a very reasonable rate.

Lastly, I highly recommend taking this class at the same time as Science of Psychology if you need that requirement as well as so much of the material overlaps.

Workload:

The workload is beyond fair. Weekly quizzes and three multiple choice exams with no final. Couldn't ask for a better workload.

March 02, 2015

Terrace, Herbert
[PSYC W2250] Evolution Of Cognition

Some men are born to teach, the Aristotles and Confuci (Confucius plural). Then there is Herb. Professor Herb is the only man in the world that can raise a chimpanzee, basically teach it how to talk, dress it in awesome clothes and get a movie made about himself and his off the wall adventures with his furry companion... then turn around and bitch about it. Besides learning that every question is a stupid question and that psychological research is a joke because the whole field is obsessed with impressing this man, you will not learn anything from his lectures. His grumpy rants, only to be interrupted by the prolonged sound of him sipping from his diet coke (or occasional coffee which requires a dry, effortful blow), have little content that you didn't learn in any intro to psych course at any school, community college, or picture book. However, the worst thing about Mr. Terrace's class of buffoonery, was the tests, which he was absent for, which his TA's wrote... In short the tests in this class resemble those written by a dyslexic fourth grader who just discovered adderall. Anywho,the textbook is from the 1960s, unpublished by the man himself, which includes many different fonts and fun misspellings that could be used for drinking games! Finally, the class is curved which is good! Oh wait, it is not? I could have swore he said it was curved... the syllabus says its curved... he gave us our scores during the year on a curve... NOPE! Professor Shouldretire crushed the curve at the last second just as he has crushed so many dreams, GPAs, hearts, and talking-monkey hopes. Damn you Herb, damn you.

Workload:

A few illiterate exams. No need to read any text he gives you, the tests don't cover any of it. The only real workload is the constant fighting with your TAs over questions that have 3 correct answers.

May 19, 2014

Terrace, Herbert
[PSYC W2250] Evolution Of Cognition

DO NOT TAKE THIS CLASS.

Terrace should have stopped teaching 15 years ago. His information is outdated, the tests are mostly illegible and do not reflect the material of the class, and he is an asshole if you try to meet with him in office hours.

That being said, the actual content of the class is very interesting. If any other professor lead the class, I'm sure it would be one of the best in the psych department. Readings range from scientific articles to magazine articles to a DRAFT of a textbook he tried writing over 15 years ago. The course would be much better if it just had a standard issue textbook.

But it doesn't matter. His tests are terrible, not because of the difficulty of the course, but because the answers are sometimes objectively incorrect and because the syntax is at a 5-year old's level. The TA's often made fun of how ridiculous some of his practice test questions and answers were. Unfortunately the actual tests were the same if not worse.

Ex. 1: One of the readings explicitly said that pigeons could learn a relational principle. The answer on his test was that they couldn't. When brought up in office hours, he said the article was wrong.

Ex. 2: Terrace said that procedural memory is not memory, and even though he understood how this would confuse people on tests since he never explained it to us, he would leave it the same next year.

Ex. 3: One time Terrace asked the class if we had seen the movie Her. After barely anybody raised their hand, he promptly spoiled the ending of the movie.

Tests are often graded so that the difference between an A- and an A+ is one multiple choice question. At the same time, the difference between a B- and a B+ may be 6 questions. Not sure if this is common, but it seemed illogical to me.

I should add that I got an A+ in the course. Even with that grade, I strongly recommend avoiding anything with Terrace.

Workload:

Weekly pass/fail quizzes you can re-take - 10%

3 tests - the first was fine, the last 2 were prime examples of how not to write a test. They will make you hate the class - 30% each

August 24, 2007

Terrace, Herbert
[PSYC W2250] Evolution Of Cognition

Please keep in mind that this review is more than 5 years old.

Someone wrote "People who say this class is the equivalent of death need to grow up." No. This class is the equivalent of death. And you mark my words and you will understand them if you take this class. All the reviews are true. This was the worst Professor or teacher I have EVER had.

Workload:

would be pretty light, only 3 tests. not a lot of material. so not bad but the problem is that it doesn't matter because his tests are written in such a way that you won't understand the question. Class is optional.

Directory Data

Dept/Subj Directory Course Professor Year Semester Time Section
PSYC / PSYC PSYC PSYC W2250: Evolution of Cognition Herbert Terrace 2011 Spring TR / 10:35-11:50 AM 1
PSYC / PSYC PSYC PSYC W2250: Evolution of Cognition Herbert Terrace 2010 Spring TR / 10:35-11:50 AM 1
PSYC / PSYC PSYC PSYC W2250: Evolution of Cognition Herbert Terrace 2009 Spring TR / 10:35-11:50 AM 1
PSYC / PSYC PSYC PSYC W2250: Evolution of Cognition Herbert Terrace 2007 Spring TR / 10:35-11:50 AM 1