Winter 2019 - The reality is that PSYCH 115 is a difficult class. Students complaining about detailed slides, difficult exams/quizzes, and heavy memorization strike me as somewhat delusional—behavioral neuroscience isn't meant to be easy and neatly curated for consumption and naturally will involve memorization and lots of work. For instance, yes it may be a little monotonous to memorize parts of the neural circuit responsible for the vestibuloocular reflex, but how else are you going to understand it on a meaningful level? A vague understanding like "your eyes account for motion to focus on an image" is simplistic and even contrary to science. Anyone who has worked in a lab knows that research is conducted at a very fundamental, detailed level; you can't do this type of work unless you understand the details. As for the class, I do have some critiques. I felt that Dr. Blair lectured far more efficiently than Dr. Adhikari, who often took twice the amount of time to cover the same amount of material—this would result in monstrous review sessions over 4 hours long or poorly paced lectures (however, I am certainly grateful that Dr. Blair/Adhi would often stay the duration of these review sessions to help students with questions). Readings are also somewhat excessive. Tip for future students: unless it is for the weekly quiz, there is no need to do the readings as exams will predominantly test on lecture material. In general, make flashcards from lecture, review them frequently (Anki is helpful for this) and you will do well. With that being said, I feel that describing Dr. Blair/Adhi as "horrible lecturers" gives future students the wrong idea. The class is hard and that means detailed, dense lectures—that doesn't mean Dr. Blair/Adhi themselves did not do a good job delivering this information. It was clear from lectures and how they answered students' questions that they cared about student learning and DID do a good job conveying this information. Take everything you read on Bruinwalk, especially for more notoriously difficult classes, with a grain of salt (including my review of course).
No doubt one of the most engaging professors I've ever had throughout my undergraduate tenure. His module of Psych 116 (Behavioral Neuroscience Lab) was based on his current research about place cells in the hippocampus, and it was truly fascinating material (to me, at least). It's one thing for a professor teach a course that's based on other peoples' findings, but it's another thing altogether to learn from the person who's actually DOING the ground-breaking scientific discoveries. He's a busy man with all the research he's got going on, but he still managed to schedule two 2-hour lecture-based review sessions before the final, which I think only few other professors have done before (in my experience). Feel free to ask him ANY question about the material, (even if you think it's a stupid question and it's something he's repeated 10,000 times before). He will never show signs of annoyance or make you feel stupid, but instead explain everything in detail. He's REALLY interested in student learning, which makes him real neat professor. A word of warning for the ladies, though: I found his disarmingly good looks and boyish-charm quite a distraction. Still, it's worth it. TAKE HIS CLASSES!!
Being a fifth year psych student, I can confidently say that Prof. Blair was one of my favorite (if not favorite) professor! He is animated, engaging, intelligent and his powerpoints are brilliantly crafted and colorful. Many of the his experiments are very interesting and revolutionizes ideas in neuroscience. If you're a neuroscience major or are very interested in that subject matter, I HIGHLY recommend! Even though he is hard (I was taking Jentsch's neuropharm class concurrently and thought it was alot harder) you will learn so many interesting facts about neuroscience that will stick you for awhile. I think I learned the most in this class out of all of them. One tip is to make sure you understand the experiments on his powerpoints REALLY well because ?'s about it are tricky. Didn't really need the book, it was just background info. Make sure to attend lectures as it supplements ppt really well and the concepts are kinda difficult to understand if you just study ppt. alone. go to office hours and ask him to clarify because sometimes he can be a little bit unclear. Anyway, def. take his class if you're interested in entering the field! Wish I could take him again (half kidding :P)
Difficult concept. Difficult subject. Caring Professor. Open door for those who seek help. Fair testing and grading. Personally I think you shouldn't be judging the professor based on difficult subject but rather his manner of teaching. Prof. Blair has an open mind teaching style based on fair grading. I am taking a different class that he is teaching. Not because I got a good grade but because I feel like I learned something.