December 23, 2009

Hart, Carl
[PSYC W2460] Drugs and Behavior

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

Attend lectures. The pop quizzes occur at random dates. Also, take clear notes, since some information he provides will be covered in the exams. He likes to often stage a seminar-esq discussion among students. Questions like, "What is the best form of heroin treatment?" will be covered. Despite this being a large class, the practice rarely becomes awkward.

The class covers both legal, social and (primarily) biological material. The multidisclipinary approach makes this a good choice for those completing a science requirement. It is obvious he supports reform of drug policy (usually some form of decriminalization). Since the readings often reflect this, and only information covered by the syllabus can be used in the exams, opponents to his view may be frustrated. But he is perhaps the most intellectually honest professor I have had at Columbia. If he makes a claim about the effect a drug has on the body, he will show us how well it is supported by existing research. If a student asks a question, and he doesn't know the answer, he won't be bashful about admitting it. He will say if a particular claim isn't well supported by data.

Do the readings sooner than later. A lot of different drugs and neruotransmitters, etc, are covered in the textbook. Exams are all about memorization, so review often. My grade suffered because, at first, I didn't respect the difficulty of the subject matter.

Workload:

At least 6 pop quizzes. (He is somewhat lenient, so your worst two grades are dropped) Three in-class exams. Two or three small readings a week.