December 23, 2005

Hart, Carl
[PSYC W2460] Drugs and Behavior

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

Those who think this is a hard course must have been smoking up before the tests. A lot. This is an easy course. Read the book. The tests are multiple choice and you get the essays ahead of time. Come on. And there's actually not that much science involved - dopamine has to do with a lot of things. That's pretty much the extent of it.

At first, I thought I found the perfect easy/semi-interesting class to fulfill the science requirement. For example, I learned about some disturbingly racist drug policies and media trends.

But then I began to realize that I was getting an entirely one-sided perspective, and it bothered me. Whenever we learned about a study that proved something negative about a certain drug, we would go through it and critique all the methodology. We never did this for studies that proved a certain drug was not all that bad. I felt like Prof. Hart thought if he presented too much negative information about drugs, we might think they were "evil." But a more balanced perspective could only have helped him make stronger arguments. Instead, I felt like I was being fed propaganda. And I had nowhere else to turn, since Prof. Hart also wrote the textbook.

This sums up the class: On one of the quizzes, he asked us to give two reasons for or against medicinal marijuana. He claimed we could argue either way. But since he only presented one reason that could be used to argue against medicinal marijuana, how could we present two? Don't get me wrong, I support medicinal marijuana. All I'm saying is, don't pretend you're giving us a balanced view when you're not.

Some people have said that they feel confident getting in discussions with peers about drugs. I do too, but only in the sense that I can regurgitate the information I learned in class. I don't feel confident, however, that this information is correct or comprehensive.

Prof. Hart is young and enthusiastic and this is all that made the class bearable for me.

Workload:

3 exams, pop quizzes that he sometimes announces (on lecture notes).