March 27, 2006

Galanter, Eugene
[PSYC W1001] Science of Psychology

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

I have never actually written a culpa review, but after reading the amazingly broad spectrum of reviews on Galanter, I am tempted to offer my own opinions on his course (keep in mind I am not 'bitter', I received an A-range grade in this class). Eugene Galanter is clearly a genius-or incredibly skilled at imitating one. This course however, can best be described as "muddy". His lectures are a drag, and without any statistics background they can be tremendously difficult to follow. Often I just ended up typing whatever I could catch, and staring at my notes in frustration and terror at the end of the day/week/unit. On the first day he puts a simple equation on the board and suggests that it is all the mathematics you need to know to do this course. Technically, he is right (I mean, I did it), but be prepared for much much more difficulty than that particular equation suggests. The lectures often digress into anecdotal chatter about Galanter's personal history, all of which is amusing and interesting and impressive but has nothing to do with the material. However, you cannot skip them entirely because often times a few questions on his thirty-question (or so) quizzes are pulled from sentences he uses in class. Verbatim. The readings are much more central to the quizzes (which I agree are really 'exams') but it is impossible to keep up with the syllabus because it has nothing to do with Galanter's lectures. You will be reading cute stories about Freud's youth long before he touches on the topic in class, which brings me to another point about the readings: they're scattered, and a large portion is anecdotal (like you cared about Pavlov's wife?). Furthermore, they're on CD, so if you're like me and prefer to highlight and make notes on the reading you'll be printing like a mad woman. If the INTENSE stack of readings you must review for the quizzes isn't enough, the TAs occasionally add some more on courseworks (and yes they pop up on the test). Of course, the oft-complained-of format can be a bit annoying but isn't impossible, my best reccomendation is to review your quiz three times before you hand it in (if you show up on time for it you'll have plenty of time to do this and still leave early) and of course, just make your own notes off of the readings. You can do well in this, but you will not enjoy it (and may break down and cry in the night's previous to the exam). Honestly, despite my respect for Galanter, you will end up frustrated and bored. If you're using it for the CORE, take it with a friend and try and split the workload.

Workload:

Three queerly formatted quizzes, intense stack of readings you'll end up doing the night before the quizzes.