Christoph Wiedenmayer

This professor has earned a CULPA silver nugget

Mar 2010

Prof. Wiedenmayer was my favorite psychology professor at Columbia. His lectures were always clear, concise, and informative. He had the ability to relate even the most complicated topics to novice learners. Prof. Wiedenmayer had a gift for teaching, and he truly cared that his students learned and absorbed his lessons. His passion for the topic was always apparent, as his love for science and natural curiosity always shined through. In addition to his teaching, Prof. Wiedenmayer was a great mentor to his students. I took two classes with him, and I can say that he is largely responsible for opening my eyes to neuroscience. He will be greatly missed by many, but his legacy as a wonderful professor, a supportive mentor, and a kind and caring individual will live on through all of those fortunate enough to have known him. Thank you Prof. Wiedenmayer for all that you shared. I am truly grateful to have gotten to know you.

Mar 2010

He was one of the best professors that I ever had. May he rest in peace. I wanted to leave some comments from his friends and family so that he can be remembered not only as a professor at Columbia, but also as just a really great guy, and a real scholar. ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- "Christoph was always the first to come to our parties and the always the first to leave, too. And he loved punk rock and new wave. Saw some legends like the Damned, Joey Ramone and Joe Strummer with him in NYC. RIP." Roman "I am still under shock and cannot believe that Christoph has passed away so quick. We were close friends since the beginning of the eighties and did a long way together. He was with me in the ups and down of life. I am so sad. Que la terre lui soit légère." Paul "It is very touching to read a lot of emotional reactions about Christoph… from students and friends at Columbia and N.Y. – and now we start joining you – as Paul from Switzerland has already done, now I – because we are sad and will miss a wonderful friend." Annette - Switzerland "Thank you all for your kind and wonderful words- soothing and saddening at the same time. We lost a brother and friend and godfather and son and we are hurting so much. I am happy and proud of him hearing that he was able to contribute and convey his passionate interest in science and neurobiology. He had so many incredible talents. As a zoologist he knew all about animals and drew fantastic sketches. As an avid reader he knew the literature from classics to post-modern. He was into arts and films and music and history and nature. Modest and playful with children. Caring and reliable. We miss him so much and I don’t know how to go on and fill this void. I hope the little seeds he planted will grow and flower. Mungu anajua yote." His sister Karin "Christoph was one of the best human beings I’ve ever met, and set standards for the rest of my life. I loved his sharp intelligence and his acceptance of others (even when seeing through them). And his innocence, which kept him curious. We belong to the same generation of Europeans who grew up on glam-rock and french songwriters (and yes, punk and new wave too), and felt that NYC was still the Great Adventure. Still ended up together in Damascus in the worst hotel ever, with Christoph totally cool about it. He will always be with me." Mariana Mila Macchi "I havent’t actually realized, what happened to my brother. I still wonder why? Not how, but why. Why just him, such an extraordinary human, so popular, so great, so healthy. I haven’t found an answer yet, it will last weeks, months, even years … I love you, Christoph!" Thomas, brother, Switzerland "I can hardly bear looking at the picture of Christoph. It’s so hard to believe and to accept that we will never meet again! That we will never eat Fondue together in wintertime and have Barbecue in the garden in summertime while discussing about a lot of topics. Christoph has been a wonderful brother-in-law. He was interested in so many things (from cooking to gardening to italian literature), so curious to know other opinions and so open-minded. He always was sincerely interested in the life of other people. And he was a fantastic uncle too! Our son loved playing and kidding together with his uncle. Only a few months ago they played together with the trains that Christoph and his brother Thomas played with in their childhood. It’s so sad that Christoph will not see growing up his nephew. He could have taught him such a lot, and Dominic would have been so proud of him! thank you Christoph for everything you’ve given to us. We are very, very sad. We miss you su much and we will always love you and never forget you." Ines, your sister-in-law

Nov 2009

I thoroughly enjoyed the class with Christoph. His lectures a thorough and well organized and he often even ends class five minutes early. Extra credit work and study credits are offered and the exams are very straight forward with multiple choice and a short answer. The tests are mostly lecture based, so go to class and take notes and you'll be fine. He's also very nice and willing to help students if you absolutely need it.

May 2009

Prof Christoph is a developmental psychobiologist at the department of psychiatry in the medical campus. But, for this course, his lectures were incredibly rudimentary and simple. The course basically comprises of memorizing his powerpoint lectures. The textbook is not needed at all. The exam questions at many times do not accurately judge your knowledge and understanding of the material, but rather, judge basic rote memorization of the lectures word-for-word. BTW, the exams are incredibly simple. Really, really, really, really simple. Really. Just rote memorize the lectures, and you will be fine. But the thing is, because of this, the median is quite high and the standard deviation is incredibly low. Thus, a difference of 3 points on the exam can fling your grade of a B to an A.

May 2009

Wiedenmayer is one of the greatest teachers at columbia. he really cares about the class, and he shows it. His english is not so great, so some of the test questions don't make sense. otherwise, the class is really not bad at all. This is a good option for the science requirement.

May 2009

While not exactly riveting, this class is the perfect way to fulfill a psych or science requirement. Prof. Wiedenmayer is an excellent lecturer and teacher, he knows his stuff and is very responsive to student questions and concerns--he responds to emails almost immediately. Something to know before you go into the class, however: do not, under any circumstances, do the reading. It will waste your time, and may even confuse you. The tests are SOLELY based on the lectures. Also, make sure you do all of the extra credit. It will help you in the end. Finally, the tests are VERY nit-picky. Though they are straight-forward, you must have all the details of the lecture flawlessly memorized. Overall, the class is worthwhile, but just make sure you know these things going into it.

Jun 2008

Any introduction course is frightening at first, especially if you have little to no background in the subject. However, I did suprising well in Mind, Brain, and Behavior with minimal effort. Professor Wiednmayer's teaching style is very straight foward. Just make sure to print out the slides before class, write notes on them while in his lecture, and study straight from that. No need to use the textbook (I didn't even buy it), or study for days. Simply review three hours before the exam, do the extra credit and you get an A. Now, even though the class didn't require a lot of work, it was still a pretty interesting class. Professor Wiednmayer, with his silly little German accent, keeps everyone entertained and focused on the material, by using examples and anacdotes related to whatever subject we currently are covering. He was a wonderful professor, and I would recommend him to anyone who considers into going into psychology/neuroscience orwho is simply interested in the brain and would like an intro class that doesn't make you want to surgically remove your brain.

Dec 2007

Professor Wiedenmayer is one of the most organized and best prepared lecturers I've ever come across. His presents his lectures off a powerpoint slideshow which you are actually able to print before class in a format that allows you to write notes next to each slide. Because of this, this was probably the easiest class I've ever had to review for at the end of semester. The material is fairly straight forward. This is a survey course, so if sciences are not your thing you will probably be fine. There's a bit of basic biology but no chemistry or physics. That said, if sciences are your thing (especially if you're a psyc major) you may find yourself wishing there was a little more depth. If you are going to be a psyc or neuro sciences major and are thinking of just taking Science of Psyc to fulfill your freshman requirements, you may do well to take this class as well. It will set you up for any neuro classes you take later on as well as give you a good foundational knowledge of neuro anatomy and physiology.

Nov 2006

an easy class, even for non science people. not too much work. he is a nice guy. stick to his lectures and not the book to study for exams.

May 2006

A subject like this is built on foundations from anatomy and neuroscience, and at the same time it has to be dumbed down in order to make a fair 1000-level course. This was a very bad combination for me. Because the course has to be accessible, the material is removed from its context, and in this sense becomes largely incoherent. The nonscientific students come out thinking that they didn't understand the biology, but I think the lack of context and logical continuity trips them up more. You end up sitting in a lecture hall with 100+ people [who often talk, go online, and leave garbage on the floor] and watch slides flash on the screen. I disagree with reviewers who have called Christoph precise or clear. The lectures seem misty, I think reflecting the problem of the lack of context I just wrote about. One reviewer said that Christoph didn't seem that bright, and I can understand this accusation, but, still, I think it's more of a problem of him trying to communicate after having dropped scientific language for the sake of having a course that easily fulfils a science requirement. I still think it's possible to have a 1000-level Mind, Brain, Behavior type course for students without a science background, but so much vagueness needs to be cleaned up. I would have learned a lot more and made much more effective use of time if I just received a list of assignments to do alone instead of trying to decipher the lectures. Avoid at all costs if lecture halls make you squirm.

May 2006

after reading all the reviews for this class, i was pretty apprehensive going into it. turns out, if you can get past the german accent (i found myself muttering "what?" too frequently), tests are a piece of cake. it's all just memorization, and here's a tip: make notecards. it might be a little time consuming, but if you're an english major like me and not premed, all you need to get an a+ in the class is memorize memorize memorize. which pretty much takes the point out of learning, if you ask me, because i've taken ap biology and ap psychology in high school and even those were more interesting to me than this was. the material could've possibly been interesting had it been presented in a different way. but whatever, if you want an easy class to fulfill a science requirement, take mcgourty's science & technology instead. otherwise, left with no choice and if you don't give a damn about learning anything, i'd go with this over like, history of dinosours. really.

Aug 2005

Overall, it's a decent class. At first, Cristoph seems like he's a really great professor, but as the class progresses, you find that he much less than you intially expected... not to say he isn't intelligent though... Neuroscience is a new field and with the rate at which things change witin the area, you can't expect on person to know everything. The problem is that this class is like a survey course of neuroscience, but because a lot of the topics are interesting students ask really specific questions that only a professor of that specific area being covered would be able to answer. He gives a 3 to 5 minute break in the middle of class which is GREAT. He understands that you can't keep the full attention of a person for 75 minutes straight. You DON'T need a solid scientific background at all to succeed in the class, grade-wise anyway... Grades are based on three tests (2 midterms, 1 final). STUDY for these tests... Best way to study review powerpoints. He posts the slides ahead of time. Print them out before class and take notes directly on them... works well that way. Just be sure to put in a few hours of study time for each test. Or if you can review your notes each week to help commit stuff to memory... but of course spending one night studying for the tests is easier... The first test is a really good indicator of the next two... Overall, I was disappointed with the class... the tests really just tested how well you memorized terms (YES. STUDY. THE TERMS HE LISTS ON THE SYLLABUS PAGE. It really points you in the right direction) rather than testing your understanding of the concepts. But whether or you're an English major or a bio major, you've got equal chances of doing well in the class. It may be a lot of technical jargon abd scientific crap, but in the end, it's just memorizing info which everyone can do.

Jul 2005

This class sucks, worst Ive ever taken. It's not the TAs fault, not Prof. Wiedenmayer's fault, maybe not even the materials fault; it is all my fault. I had no business being in this class, and will forever wish I didn't sign up for it. I know people out there love this material but I found it to be completely boring. I guess Prof. Wiedenmayer is a good guy, I don't know I didnt ever go see him one on one. I guess the TAs were helpful (again I have no idea I never went to see them). Again, all my fault I shouldn't have been in this class. I'm a poli sci and econ major; not only is this knowledge largely useless but completely uninteresting. Please be warned that unless you are pre-med or find discussions of the brain interesting stay away at all costs.

Nov 2004

Christoph is an awesome professor. For those that complain about too much bio, wake up! The brain is essentially an interpreter and communicator of its biochemical state. Deal with it or try philosophy. Professor Weidenmayer encourages innovative thought and genuine understanding of the material. Mind Brain Behavior was easy (and I'm not pre-med) as is his Psych seminar: Evolution of Human Behavior. Weidenmayer is very fair and straight-foreword. You'll do well in this class if you are interested in the material and go over the lectures before the exams.

May 2004

Having little to no background in the type of material here, I was fairly anxious about taking this class, but Cristoph does a very good job of presenting the material in a concise manner. The classes almost solely consist of him lecturing with a Powerpoint presentation, but he'll crack a joke here or there and even give 3-minute breaks in a 75 minute class(!) to break it up a bit. The material itself is fascinating ... it is heavily biological and mostly deals with the workings of the nervous system, acting as an effective counterpoint to other psychology classes I have taken. Don't bother even buying the textbook ... tests are completely based on the material presented in class, but do require a lot of memorization and sometimes ask irritating questions about the most trivial details, so they expect you to know just about everything. However, being able to print out the slides and take notes on them makes studying much easier. I definitely recommend this course.

May 2004

I loved Christoph and learned a lot in this course. Nonetheless, the final was much more difficult (and worth more) than either of the previous two tests. I still managed to do well, but that was a bit annoying. T.A.'s were chill as hell, especially Tammy and Johannes. Glad I took this class, as I believe I learned appliable knowledge, as opposed to bullshit.

May 2004

Previous reviewers have largely missed the point here. The problem with this class is not that it's biologically oriented; clearly, if you don't want to learn about the biology you shouldn't take this class. The problem is that Wiedenmayer \does not understand the biology well enough. In fact, I got the general impression that he's just not that bright. Several times, Wiedenmayer described the procedure and results of some experiment, then would claim a conclusion that didn't really seem to follow. When he was questioned because of this, he would typically answer politely, but not really engage with the point made by the questioner. Sometimes he would defer, erroneously claiming that everything would be clarified later, sometimes he would just repeat something he had already said, even though it wasn't really relevant. (Note to previous reviewer: Yes there were some dumb questions. But there were also a lot of intelligent questions that he treated as if they were dumb.) Additionally, he seemed to inappropriately simplify (e.g. his explanation of evolution) or simply get wrong (e.g. his description of the work of Stephen Pinker) some basic facts and concepts. There were some other shortcomings to this class. The exams focused entirely on vocabulary, not abstraction. That is, they measured only how well you had memorized the lectures, not how well you understood the concepts. I realize that in a class like this a significant amount of memorization is appropriate, however, I think it should be better balanced. For instance, the essay questions could ask you to explain an experimental result or consider a theory, rather than simply asking you to repeat facts learned in class. Also, the class was seemingly filled with freshmen satisfying their science requirement, who seemed to feel that it was totally acceptable for them to talk loudly through class, which could be fairly distracting. Despite all of this, the class was far from a waste. While, I think Wiedenmayer's understanding of the material is somewhat lacking, he is reasonably good at presenting what he does understand. Also, the textbook is pretty good (although largely unneccessary). I came away from this class, having learned a significant amount of neuroscience, which I think is a fascinating subject.

May 2004

I loved this class. Wiedenmayer is adorable, and a good lecturer. He somehow manages to finish his lectures exactly on time every single class. The information is really interesting and he goes out of his way to present studies that have been recently published that relate to whatever we're learning. The connection to the real world is definitely a nice plus. He's also great at answering questions, no matter how dumb they are. And yes, people ask REALLY dumb questions. This class is not difficult, but getting a good grade on midterms can be, simply because it's a class where anyone can do well on the tests, so small mistakes really cost you. I think that the self-tests make up for that.

Sep 2003

It's what it says: Mind, Brain, & Behavior. If you want to know about the nervous system, then take this class. The names Freud, Jung, or Dr. joyce Brothers were never mentioned.In general very personable, and extremely organized was Weidenmayer. No suprises, no punches out of left field.He had a self-condescending, self-deprecating style that was pleasant. He encouraged questions and always followed up with researched, in-depth answers for students. He cannot be faulted on that front. His exams were based almost entirely on his lectures, the readings served to clarify his lecture's points. If you take this class, print out his slides first, make all your notes directly on them, be in tune with what he's saying because that's all that matters. The extra credit weekly tests are a great way to up your final grade while figuring out all the material. The drag is that the textbook costs a fortune and is hardly used.

Sep 2003

One of my favorite professors ever! Very personable, always encouraging, and his lectures are extremely refined. Of course the class is mostly bio, it's neuroscience! Don't fault him for that if you can't handle biology.

Jul 2003

Everyone here seems to be complaining about his focus on biology - but that is the point of this course. This is one of the two intro courses to psychology, the other one, science of psych, focuses on the more psychological, philosophical side whereas this one is about the biology. Psychology is a science! Wiedenmeyer was a good professor. He gave a good, fair overview of all of neuroscience. His midterms and final were not difficult, but cramming the night before will definitely do you know good so you should probably listen during lectures and read.

May 2003

Contrary to many of the opinions expressed here I found Dr. Weidenmayer to be a very good teacher. His explanations were clear and when they weren't he did his best to try and clarify things. He encourages questions and if there is something he doesn't have an answer for he will research it and come back the next week with the answer. Dr. Weidenmayer was always available after class or by email to answer any questions. He's very organized and uses Powerpoint. Usually I find Powerpoint to be annoying, but I think in this class it worked well. There were 3 TAs for this class. Johannes Schwaninger was very enthusiastic and offered as much help as you needed. He would reply to email qustions with lengthy, clear explanations that were very helpful.

May 2003

christoph is soooo cool. he dresses in these funny h&m clothes & stumbles over simple english words a lot, but he's a great professor. he makes all the lectures interesting & he always ends on- time. his slides are helpful, & the fact that u can print them out before class is very helpful in note taking. his tests are fair, & he give u plenty of extra-credit opportunities.

Apr 2003

Get out of this class as fast as you can! This was the worst class I have taken here. Wiedenmayer focuses almost all of his attention on the biological aspects of the brain and almost entirely ignores the psychological aspects of it. The only people who have a shot at doing well in this class are premeds and GS students. I worked harder in this class than any other and barely made out with a C+ (after the self tests). If you want to keep your sanity and GPA in good shape, avoid this class. However, if you are determined to take the class, be sure to do all the self tests. They really help you out in the end.

Oct 2002

Beware! This man bases everything on bio, and doesn't communicate with students AT ALL. The grades are based on a curve, so the premeds make it almost impossible to get anything above a C. Also, none of the test scores indicate your final grade. You won't realize until it's already stuck on your transcript that although you've been making B+'s on the midterms and the final, you actually get a C for the class. He also likes to copy and paste emails, so if you write him more than once about something, chances are you'll get the same reply. Be good to your GPA and stay out!

Apr 2002

He's definitely a very precise man - lectures strictly from his powerpoint presentations. He is absolutely dependent on them: One time, when the light bulb on the projector burned out, he could barely function! The class is interesting, but too much on the biological side. There's a huge emphasis on terminology and brain structures/processes. On the other hand, I enjoyed the class because I found the topics to be interesting. Plus, the midterms are pretty easy, if you go to classes. This is NOT a class to be missed. Reading the textbook is just about unnnecessary unless you want a more technical, in-depth explanation (which is, unnecessary).

Apr 2002

This class would be very interesting if wiedenmayer just stuck to teaching about the psychological aspects of the mind and brain, but instead he attempts to go too much into the biology, which of course he doesn't seem to understand very well. For a biology or a pre-med major his attempts at these explanations, particularly genetics, seem poorly put together and even borderline incorrect. For a non-science person the explanations are overwhelming and boring. Any time a student offers a bit of advice, a question, or a suggestion, he smirks very condescendingly and fakely and ignores what the student has to say.

Nov 2001

First, to the many people curious about psychology: don't take this class because it fits better into your schedule or because you see something bad here written about psych professors. Take the real Intro to Psych 1001. This class is so much biology (and thus rote memorization) and you have compete with so many crazy pre-med students with photographic memory and infinite diligence that mere curiosity is not enough). In short, to succeed in this class, you need to be pre-med. Prof Wiedenmayer is pretty cute and teaches okay. Lectures can be a little boring at times, but I guess that depends on whether you're pre-med or not. The TAs are pretty but not too helpful. A word about lifelong learners: don't underestimate them. There was this 40ish bald man with a beard in my class and I kept thinking to myself, 'Ha, this guy is gonna help my grade by being at the bottom the curve.' Later I realized he's actually practicing physician. One really has to wonder why someone with an MD would go back to school to do intro to neuroscience. To conclude, I think it'd be nice to have two different classes: Mind, Brain & Behavior and Mind, Brain & Behavior for pre- and current meds.

May 2001

Prof. Wiedenmayer presents the material for this class in a clear and straightforward manner. His lectures are accessable and very understandable. Nonscience majors will have no problem in this course. If you go to the lectures, listen, and take notes, you'll have no problem in this class since the exams are taken exclusively from the lecture materials. Prof. Wiedenmayer does a great job of setting goals for the course and communicating to students what they need to know for the exams. Overall this is a very good class.

Apr 2001

My lord this man is not a teacher. He is very precise indeed, but takes no interest in actually communicating with his class. He doesn't seem to really care if anyone is listening. He is content to lecture and an extremely thick German accent. He uses Power Point presentations and goes through his slides at an extremely rapid pace making his students scribble to keep up because he rarely cares if you ask him to slow down, and when he does slow down, he seems annoyed or does not have the answer to your questions. The best sessions of this class were when there were guest lecturers! His exams are ambiguous and students are not allowed to keep them for studying pu