Thinking and Decision Making

Apr 2020

I'm gonna be honest: Prof. Fox-Glassman is not for me. She speaks extremely fast and in a very monotone way so that it's hard to pay attention. Also, the topic of the class sounds interesting, but it's most likely not what you think it will be. While the professor provides you with a lot of interesting examples from real-life contexts, I wish I hadn't taken this class. The majority of the class speaks about normative models (math) and economics. At times I felt like I was in an econ lecture, and not psychology. The workload is not super high, but I found her exams some of the most difficult I had taken in the psych department and not exactly fair (confusing scenarios and several answers that could be right). That being said, Prof. Fox-Glassman seems to really care about her students and she is extremely smart and knowledgable. I have to say it again: that woman is smart. I think that's why at times, she's going super fast and takes a lot of prior knowledge for granted. However, if you have any questions she really takes the time to explain, which I really liked. As a person she's awesome and you can have some interesting conversations with her. I would say that you'll either love her lectures or her style is just not for you. For me, it was the latter, so I will refrain from taking another class with her. I highly recommend visiting her lectures during the add/drop period to see if her demanding teaching style works for you and whether you actually like the topic. I did not think too much about the topic beforehand and just went by what the syllabus said. Inform yourself what you're actually getting into, otherwise, you won't enjoy the content.

Apr 2020

I went to try out this class despite of all of the reviews, and I have to say Katherine is absolutely LOVELY! I can't wait to take more of her classes, and if opportunity comes up, I would love to TA for her in some capacity. Of course, this semester is weird because of the coronavirus situation, but Katherine actually made online classes as fun as her in-person classes. She has really good memes in her slides, can always keep you engaged, and actually tries to learn students' names in a huge lecture hall (those who sit in the front few rows anyways). She is very helpful and explains concepts very clearly. This class goes through a lot of material very fast and doesn't necessarily goes very in-depth, but Katherine explains all of the experiments extremely well and uses iClicker/Zoom polling questions to make sure we understand. Honestly, given the abnormal situation of teaching online, she is the professor who is taking the most advantage of the online environment of all my 6 classes, and is able to engage the class despite of its difficulties. Also her kids are extremely cute and she took the time to introduce them to us when we went online. She makes herself very available for office hours by appointment outside of her normal office hours. And she really incorporates current events into this class. We had an extra session to talk about just how people's decision-making in the time of the coronavirus reflects the heuristics and biases we learned in class and what are some measures to combat that. Although this semester hasn't ended yet, I know I will have come out of this class having not just learned the material but with a new understanding of how I make my own decisions in life. Overall great class! Would highly recommend!

May 2019

Overall, the class is generally interesting and not very challenging. It is, however, very irritating in terms of policy and assignments. Prof F-G uses iClicker to ensure attendance, which is a major factor in your grade. The problem is, she deliberately times the clicker questions to appear early in the class and right before the end, so if you happen to be late or need to leave early - your grade will suffer. The material is straightforward but endless: there are infinite terms to memorize and although a very basic understanding is required, it can become overwhelming. Problem sets are not graded on accuracy, only on effort but this does not mean they don't require some work to complete properly. Both midterms and final are quite basic - just memorize plenty of terms and have a grasp of their real life applications. Not very difficult, but tedious. All in all, this class is a decent choice for psych and non-psych majors (like myself). Professor F-G attempts to keep class engaged but her monotone voice and the endless amount of terms and studies she plows through becomes mentally taxing. Would not recommend, but if looking for a nice elective, its not a bad option.

May 2018

Stay away. While the topic sounds very interesting, it is very subjective. The answers to the exam have more than one right answer but if you don't answer Glassman's right answer- then it's wrong. The exams are graded by TA's who are undergrads, just like you- yup. The TA's in this class were very harsh, some of them who appeared to enjoy seeing students struggle/get a bad grade. Previous students had warned me not to take this class, but I thought it would be fun- guess not.

May 2016

This was a pretty decent class. Material was interesting and very applicable to daily life and the business world. You learn about human biases, heuristics, decision architectures, etc. If you read Thinking Fast and Slow and Predictably Irrational, you would get most of the relevant information that you should know. Not sure what it says about the thoroughness of academia when 2 casual reading popular psych books cover your class material. The mandatory attendance and iClicker quizzes were annoying. Midterms were pretty straightforward if you studied for them. There was nothing that was challenging as long as you memorized all the terms she gives you in the review sheet and understand them at a basic level. Good class. Would recommend if you're a psych major or just a person interested in business who needs to get a non-technical class requirement out of the way.

Jan 2011

Unfortunately this class is a mess because you can see the teacher putting a lot of energy into it....but it does not work for her. First of all the teachers slides seem organized but if you compare them to what is coming out of her mouth you will be very confused. Her thoughts move faster than what she can talk about so even note taking is confusing if you are trying to follow her. It does not have any requirements but you have to have a heavy background in Economics to understand the first month of class. Even the TAs were trying to help us but they seemed even more confused.Don't even mention the little math that you have to use. So confusing. Then, you have to have a good knowledge of Social Psychology in order to at least have a moment of breath in this class and understand al the biases humans have. Only then the topic starts. Desicion making is a very open, subjective topic. She makes it boring , confusing and the book is a horrible companion. I ended up not reading it. Everyday you have to sit in the class, thinking it is going to get better or clearer but....false! It just gets worse and worse. Its like a sinking ship. The video project is useless but I met great people and less than 3 hours were enough to film it. Many people just read from a paper to the camera....boring. I threw my notes away as soon as the semester ended.

Dec 2010

Yes, this class is ridiculously boring. The first half of every lecture is spent going over what we talked about last lecture. Popping into class a few times a month is enough. If you go more than that, at least bring your laptop. You and everyone else will have to flip to Facebook every once in awhile to stay awake, which is sad considering how sweet Elke is. The assigned book chapters are usually only barely connected to what we are currently talking about. The TA's are very disorganized and can't even agree on which lessons/book chapters will be on the midterm. And, the group video project was the most ridiculous, waste of time high school project EVER. But, despite all this, is it hard to get an A is this class? Not really. The average on the midterm was an 85. The study guide Elke hands out before the midterm and final basically are the the midterm and final. If you do it and memorize it, review the lesson slides and have a bit of common sense you can get an A- on the exams. The writing assignments are a bit harshly graded, but if you put effort into them and throw in a bunch of psych words you'll be fine. The video project was the dumbest thing ever and hopefully they get rid of it by next year. This class also turns into an Econ class after the first semester, just FYI.

Jan 2010

The phrase "bored to tears" has never seemed to apt. On the (very) few occasions I dragged myself into this class, I fell asleep nearly every time. Krantz's slow and labored monotone doesn't help matters either. But that said, this class is probably the EASIEST class I've ever taken at Columbia. The class is divided up into 3 sections, with a non-cumulative exam for each section (the 3rd exam takes the place of the final). Plan your attendance per section as follows: go to 2-3 classes to get a feel for the material, then peace out until the class before the exam, where he'll review everything (ask questions if you missed something), read the slides/review the practice exam for an hour, proceed to ace the exam. Rinse and repeat. Going over the practice exam is crucial! The class before the exam is a review day and he'll go over about 90% of the practice exam--it will tell you everything you need to know and how you should think about/answer the real exam questions, which will be similar (if not some of the same) as the practice ones. As for the (very) few classes you have to slog through in order to get the easiest A of your life, bring coffee and a laptop and you should be set. He reads pretty much right off the slides, but he also tends to throw important graphs and tables on the slides without any captions/explanations, so listen for those. Finally, a general note about the material: the stuff you'll go over -- decision methods, optimization, social goals, etc. -- is all incredibly intuitive. You'll run into nothing you don't already know. Even if the terms/theories sound foreign, you'll quickly realize that it's just a different way of referring to something you already know.

Apr 2007

please dont take this class. was so boring for me i had to leave during class sometimes. we just pass failed it because we could not stand going to her class. taking the class will help you in some other classes becuase the material is universal in psychology

Dec 2006

This was a fantastic class and I worked really hard, but for once it actually paid off. Prof Weber is a fair grader, her lectures, while sometimes seeming VERY long, were well organized, well presented, well articulated, and she even gave us power point printouts for the whole course. This meant I didn't use my laptop for notes so I actually paid attention. The material was interesting, the papers were easy, and the best part of the class was the TAs. At least Kerry, she was fantastic. She would answer questions by email, meet with you whenever, and even read drafts of papers. The test review guides were comprehensive and super helpful, and we even got the essay questions ahead of time. If you need an awesome psych class, go for this one, it'll actually make you think a little.

Dec 2006

Disregard the previous reviews. The class has cracked down hard on grade inflation, turning very easy material into unnaturally hard material--papers which would earn A's if the class were half the size earn C's. The mean of our first paper, in a class of 66, was a 5.3/7.5! The test grades fell around a B-/C+ range, and if they don't curve final grades, a lot of people are going to wind up with GPA breaking scores in what was a fluff course. The material was worthless--I gained more from my AP Macroeconomics class in 12th grade. If you have an interest in decision making, take a basic econ course. Unless you enjoy sitting in half-empty lecture courses listening to material you could have learned in 3 hours from the assigned 100 page/10th grade level coursebook, avoid this course.

Jan 2005

I've read all of the reviews about Professor Weber and I don't understand why people think she is such a good lecturer. She is very nice and understanding (especially when it comes to the TA's horribly subjective grading on the definitions on the midterm), but as a professor, I can't say that I found her to be all that great. Maybe it's just me, but I found her accent to be distracting and her incredibly incoherent, disorganized manner of teacher to be very uninformative. Sure she has powerpoint slides, but unlike other professor's, some of her slides make no sense. You look at her review sheet that she gives to you near the midterm and final, look back at the powerpoint slides, and realize that even with the slides and your lecture notes, you still have no idea what the concept means. She never manages to give an actual definition of a concept but rather provides an obscure, not very clear "example" of the concept. Yes this class is fairly easy and you don't really have to do any of the readings, but I have learned almost nothing from this class. The final is all about little cartoons and vignettes where you are supposed to give the concept that it is using--but more than three concepts can apply to the same vignette. If you want to fulfill an easy major/minor requirement, take this class--just study the review sheet, glance at the readings, and hand in the final paper.

Jan 2005

PERFECT class for people with no interest in science who want to get through the science requirement relatively painlessly. This class is really more of a marketing class than a science class. Its true what other's have said, that a lot of the stuff seems relatively common-sensical (in making a decision, you evaluate your choices, and make the decision you see as best, etc.). And that the book is very interesting and short. Elke is an incredibly sweet, interesting, well-spoken, engaging lecturer. She delivers a well-run and informational lecture on a somewhat boring topic. The information on the notes is everything that will be on the midterm and final, but you still HAVE TO GO TO CLASS. Don't think that those are a get out of jail free card for studying. She gives extra information and examples that back up what those notes say. Overall, very interesting class. I feel like I learned a lot from it, and the thought of the professor still makes me smile.

Dec 2004

Well the name of the class makes it sound really cool, but, ummm, not so much. It's hard to pinpoint why exactly this class is such a waste of time, but it is. Honestly I learned a lot, but I really didn't need to take the class to learn it. One day spent reading the textbook--and it could be read in one day, really it's just plain fun--would have been sufficient. This class is good for English majors who want an easy way to fulfill the science requirement. Basically you just have to memorize a bunch of names for concepts that you already intuitively understand. The exams do very little to test any real comprehension, and though there is some (very simple) math in the course almost none of it makes it on to the exams (really, you can get those questions wrong and still get an A). The only people who really should take this class are those who want to go in to marketing. Prof. Weber is very nice and a fairly dynamic lecturer, but in my opinion this class is living proof that the social sciences are not real sciences. Every interesting study is just telling you something you already know, and some of the conclusions that these so-called scientists draw from their studies are so obviously without foundation that it's not clear why anyone would take them seriously. This class could have been condensed into two or three very interesting lectures, but to sit through a whole semester was none too much fun. ItÂ’s a pretty easy A though.

Feb 2003

Professor Weber takes the guesswork out of an obscure topic and runs a well-organized and extremely informative class. Her class provides an easy-to-grasp introduction to the psychology of decision making; while some of the information seems self-evident, this class will change the way you look at the process of making decisions. Don't be surprised when the word "utility" takes over your entire vocabulary and you wonder how you ever got by without knowing how to determine it for a given scenario. The course itself has very high utility for students of a variety of academic interests and is a great way to fill that second part of your psychology sequence if you've chosen psychology for your science requirement.

Feb 2003

I truly thought this was the best class I've taken at Columbia, in any department. Prof. Weber is from the business school, so it's sort of like an economic psychology class, covering game theory, probability, and many other real-world topics. Teaching is done with really interesting examples, such as segregation in schools and the Challenger shuttle explosion. Weber is an absolutele delight--enthusiastic, clear in her lecturing, and open to all questions. Cute German accent, too. Her TAs weren't great due to arrogance and random grading, but that could change next year. Take this class if you're a psych, econ, or poli sci major!! It's great! You'll be interested in what she has to say and will never get bored.

Jan 2003

Yes, it's an easy class. Memorize the handouts and ace the tests. Weber's not an engaging lecturer, her TA (Eric) is a mean grader, and decision making is way less complex and interesting than you're led to believe. Not the worst class I've ever taken, but far from the best.

Dec 2002

Prof Weber is a decent lecturer. She presents her information clearly and even gives out her lecture notes for each section of the course. A review sheet was also given out for the midterm and final, but it was extremely comprehensive. The final included information from the first section of the class, with some of the stuff pretty obscure and not what was focused on in class. While the course itself is not difficult, the TA's were ridiculous. There was no standard given for grading, either for the paper or the exams.

Nov 2002

Prof. Weber is animated and very deeply cares about what she teaches, and wants you to care about it too. It is not difficult information, but it is very interesting, and Prof. Weber gives good examples to help conceptualize the information. Her primary TA this semester, Eric, taught part of the class, and he is a very fun lecturer... he makes the class interactive, and also very obviously cares about the information. I highly recommend this course.

May 2001

Easy easy easy. Get out of jail free card for nonscience majors' science requirement. The other reviewer is correct to say that lectures are not necessary to ever attend. I learned half a semester in one night by flipping through the lecture notes printed out for me in advance by the Prof. As for the Prof., Weber is enthusiastic about her subject; I'll give her that. There's just not much to the subject.

May 2001

This class was extremely boring, but very easy. Professor Weber knows her stuff down cold, but the topics are uninteresting and often common sense. The lectures are boring, but you don't need to worry about taking great notes because the TAs hand out most of the notes you will need. There is a lot of reading, but it's not necessary to read it in order to do well on the exams. Professor Weber is nice, pleasant, and does her best to make a boring class seem interesting. I would definitely recommend this class as an easy way to complete the science requirement, but if you want something interesting, look elsewhere.

May 2001

This class was extremely boring, but very easy. Professor Weber knows her stuff down cold, but the topics are uninteresting and often common sense. The lectures are boring, but you don't need to worry about taking great notes because the TAs hand out most of the notes you will need. There is a lot of reading, but it's not necessary to read it in order to do well on the exams. Professor Weber is nice, pleasant, and does her best to make a boring class seem interesting. I would definitely recommend this class as an easy way to complete the science requirement, but if you want something interesting, look elsewhere.

Apr 2001

Quite possibly the most boring class I have ever taken. I have learned nothing except the technical terms for concepts that I already know. Every class we spend the first 30 minutes rehashing what we did last class. She gives the same examples every day because she seems not to know any others. There is so much possibility in this class but Weber is simply an incredibly boring teacher. The class is always at least half missing and those there sleep. This is a waste of time, and the midterm and final both consist of memorization of definitions, which is actually difficult giving the arbitrary grading.

Apr 2001

Give yourself a treat and take the class. The material is a combination of psychology and economics and has great applications in students' lives as well as implications for political science and political theory. Weber is extremely well organized and the lectures are interesting. Grading is fair. A limited background in psych and statistics are assumed, though Weber and the TAs often stay after class to patiently answer stupid questions from people too dumb or lazy to read a book.

Jan 2000

What I loved: He didn't want to be there either. What I hated: He didn't want to be there either. What I most wished: He had padded the grades. What I most feared: He didn't pad the grades.