Rated 5 out of 5 by 747Jene Neuroscience Of Everyday Life
I am very deep into your course Neuroscience of everyday Life, have completer up to tape 32? However upon my return from a business trip for 10 days, I cannot get any sound, only picture. I am confused about why I cannot access the remainder of this subject. I order many courses from your company, even after your changes. Perhaps you can assist me in this regard. I have received notice that I also have two more courses ordered and notice that they are on the way (order confirmation S03060209. Thank you, RJSmith747@yahoo.com
August 20, 2014
Rated 3 out of 5 by GRFels Good foundation course for beginners
As a beginner when it comes to neuroscience, I found this course interesting. The organization and sequence of the lecture topics were well thought out, logical and building on one another. The use of pictures, graphics and other visuals generally helped to better understand the points being made by the professor. Their variety and in some cases high-tech production stimulated my interest and often satisfied my curiosity for "show me, don't just talk about it".
However, this course suffers from a number of flaws that prevent it from rising above average in rating. Though I classify it as a beginners' course, it is a little too light on depth to the point of being too superficial on some topics (e.g., religion, free will, happiness). Dr. Wang's delivery is uneven: sometimes he is really focused, speaks clearly and each sentence hits the mark; too often, he is redundant (e.g., at the beginning of the last lecture, he says in two slightly different ways that the lecture is about happiness. Another example, which happens more than once, is that he says things like "Let me give you two examples. And the two examples are as follows. Example 1..." ). There is too much superfluous talking in those lectures.
Dr. Wang is also very distracted by what is going on in the studio instead of keeping his focus on the camera that is filming him. This is exacerbated by the constant going back and forth of the camera angles which often shift at inappropriate times (e.g., in the middle of Dr. Wang making a key point instead of letting him finish his point and then changing the camera angle). It comes across as both Dr. Wang and the camera operator having ADHD!
The overall production of this DVD is definitely poorer in quality than all other courses I have taken from The Great Courses. The sound and the video are sometimes not in synch (the mouth moves but the sound is delayed) and in at least two places, the words on the soundtrack are not those pronounced by Dr. Wang's lips. For me that kind of glitch is very distracting and caused me to backtrack and listen to the segment over again to get the correct message.
Finally, Dr. Wang's delivery is marred by his overuse of phrases or words such as: now; it turns out; so;... and I could make a very long list of such phrases and words here. At first I took it as part of his "casual talk" style of delivery but after a while it got really annoying especially when the "it turns out" phrase signaled that Dr. Wang was going to skip over some more in-depth explanation (which would have made the course more substantial) in favour of some general conclusion that often had a superficial or over-generalized feel to it.
Nevertheless, it is still a good course from which I learned quite a bit, especially when using the booklet that came with the DVD and the bibliography that I used in several instances to get the deeper explanations that are missing from the course.
February 25, 2014
Rated 2 out of 5 by gs02 Got my money back...
I'm a big fan of The Great Courses in general. As a former attorney and current psychology doctoral student, I have been using The Great Courses to supplement my graduate coursework. The courses by Dr.'s Robinson, Heller, and Leary have been wonderful adjuncts to my studies. I figured this course would be the same. Unfortunately, not so much…
Granted, Dr. Wang know's significantly more about neuroscience than I do. However, he doesn't appear to know his limits, and makes sweeping, inaccurate, and sometimes offensive statements. Here are three examples :
1) He says that no matter what their parents do, little girls will inevitably play with frilly pink dolls, and little boys will inevitably play war with guns. Yes, he says that in regards to personality development. Need I say more?
2) He states repeatedly that opiates are safer than amphetamines. Here's an example he uses: He states that William Burroughs II used opiates and lived to an old age, but William Burroughs Jr. used amphetamines and died in his 30's. Therefore, amphetamines are more dangerous than opiates. ?!?! Looking beyond the awful causal assumption, there are two problems here: First, WB Jr. quit amphetamines 10 years before dying. After quitting drugs, however, he became such a severe alcoholic that he had to undergo a liver transplant. He started drinking again after the transplant, and died of complications. Absolutely nothing to do with amphetamines. I expect better research from a Yale professor. Second, significantly more people die each year from opiates than from amphetamines. Sure, meth is a horrible drug that destroy's lives, but many more people die with heroin needles hanging from their arms than do meth addicts. Amphetamines may be more negatively impactful to the brain, however opiates carry a substantially higher risk of accidental overdose. As a budding addictions psychologist, I think this is actually an irresponsible statement. While I don't expect either of these drug users to be the target audience of his lectures, it would be tragic if someone actually acted on this "information" and later died of a heroin overdose.
3) He states repeatedly that ADHD is something that kids will outgrow. This position is at least ten years outdated; multiple studies throughout the 2000's have shown that over 60% of children with ADHD carry it into adulthood. Early in the series he makes a statement that borders dangerously close to dispensing medical advice: He says that parents shouldn't give their kids medication (after all, they are based on deadly amphetamines), and instead "just wait and see" if the kids outgrow it. I was shocked and offended at that statement. Another way of wording this position is as follows: If your (properly diagnosed by a neuropsychologist) kids graduate from high-school with B's & A's, then the psychologist was wrong and your kids didn't actually have this imaginary disorder. However if your kids graduate with C's and D's (assuming that they actually graduate), then oops, I guess they were ADHD after all… Lives ruined. Later in the series he says that ADHD symptoms are just the result of the developmental process of the adolescent brain, and again advocates the "wait and see" approach.
Addictions and ADHD are my academic specialty area's, so I readily identified this misinformation. I do not have expert knowledge of many other topics he discusses, however, and became concerned that I was potentially exposing myself to other pieces misinformation. As such, I requested my first refund from The Great Courses (which was granted). I would not recommend this course to people who are unable to ferret out these (albeit occasional) misleading statements. I would also not recommend this course to persons attempting to bolster their academic studies. Instead, check out some of the other excellent psychology courses available.
September 14, 2013
Rated 5 out of 5 by nikos Popular NeuroScience at its best!
As a physician I was already knowledgable about many of the ideas and themes developed throughout the course. I would classify this course as a popular science course. It is not very demanding regarding anatomy and physiology. Dr Wang eases the viewer into the necessary details that will make the lectures understandable even for people with no scientific background. His lectures on action potentials and synapses are small gems and will build a solid foundation for future understanding. Gross anatomy of the brain eg temporal lobe, amygdala etc are kept to a nominal level, so that you can keep a helpful location in your mind about where these structures are.
There is a really wide variety of themes that are developed throughout the course. The main thread that connects these themes is the idea that "we are our brains" and that plasticity leads to brain changes throughout one's lifetime.
Dr Wang is clearly a skillful teacher, who can simplify even very complex and controversial matters. His teaching style is relaxed and evenly paced. At the end of each lecture he successfully summarizes the main points of the lecture and builds a connection to the lecture that follows. A previous reviewer stated that the course lacks in visual elements. I disagree with that view, because I found the course rich in visual data and illustrations. There are plenty of illustrations of brain regions, as well as experiments in people with phantom limbs, infants and causality, infants and numerosity. There are also videos of animal experiments and avant garde neuroscientific methods such as two photon microscopy of neuronal circuits and connectomics.
The lectures on addiction, personality, IQ, mood, love really stand out. I agree with a previous reviewer that his lecture on near death experiences is excellent. You will never notice the time passing by. I wish Dr Wang would have gone deeper in this subject. Another reviewer criticized Dr Wang for dualism in the lecture on spirituality and religion. I have to say that this is an unfortunate misunderstanding of the reviewer. Dr Wang is not a dualist, on the contrary he repeats time and time again that "we are our brain". Personally, I found that Dr Wang handled the subject of religion with exceptional care and balance and I cannot imagine that anyone can be offended by his particular presentation. His final lecture discusses the subject of happiness and the future of neuroscience. I wish he had devoted a few more lectures on new technologies, as it seems that the gap between neuroscience and science fiction will tend to diminish.
Overall, a great course from a great teacher. This course will not make you a neuroscientist but you will surely wish you were one! You will marvel at the miraculous organ that makes us who we are. I would like to see other courses from Dr Wang that delve deeper into specific areas of NeuroScience.
February 9, 2013