Someone who is interested in psychology using this as the very first introduction. The lecturer did a fantastic job with voice modulation and enthusia..Show More »sm, so I waited a long time for it to improve.
There are two groups of people who are going to be apt to preemptively judge this "book by its cover:" religious people and atheists. This is NOT a b..Show More »ook about religion. Newberg does personally have a religious bent (neurological tendency?), but those seeking a scientific proof of God are going to have to go elsewhere. This is NOT a promotion of religion. So do not come at this book and have a knee-jerk negative reaction because of two words in the title. It IS a book about the neurological basis of religious EXPERIENCE. Get that? EXPERIENCE. That people have an experience of religion means neither that it is true or false or anything other than that they tend to experience something in a very subjective way. This is a scientific, neurological examination of the pre-wiring of the human brain to potentially think in religious terms. Now, if you need more reassurance, devout atheists such as V. Ramachandran have explored this topic and used Newberg's "nun study" in their work. (Ramachandran studied a split brain patient whose left brain was atheist and whose right brain was religious: he quipped that he wondered if half the man would go to heaven and the other half to hell.) Steven Pinker, also an atheist, has quoted Newberg's work in his examination of whether or not the tendency toward religiosity or atheism is heritable (it seems to be). There are also other interesting case studies to consider. The religious experience has been identified more or less with the right temporal lobe, and those with temporal lobe epilepsy (like Vincent Van Gogh) are prone to very vivid religious hallucinations (visions?)--Van Gogh had them. Again and again: this is a neurological study of the religious EXPERIENCE in humans, not a book advocating religion. So go in prepared. (O, and it's a really good lecture series too, if you were wondering...)
I've really enjoyed several of The Great Courses, so I was particularly disappointed in this one given that I've come to expect so much from them. ..Show More »> Most of the course (about 90%) has to do with categorizing every single nuance of the study of learning and assigning every nuance a vocabulary term that the listener will most likely never hear or use again in their lifetime. Of the remaining 10%, 5% dealt with scientific studies that just made me think, "Wow, it's amazing what some scientists get paid to study."
The remaining 5% that was actually useful information can be summed up as follows:
1. Test yourself frequently in the process of studying. Don't wait to test yourself until you think you know the material. The more frequently you test yourself on whatever you're studying, the more likely you will retain the information. (This was from chapter 12)
2. Test yourself continually, not only on the information you don't know, but also on the information that you believe you've learned. That's because you can actually teach yourself to forget that information by ignoring it in the review process. (This was from chapter 12)
3. Foreign language learning can be greatly enhanced by listening to anything in that language in the background on a routine basis. Basically, when you do this, you are faking immersion, but your brain senses the immersion experience as being real and absorbs more than you think even if you don't understand what's being said. (I've forgotten the chapter for this, but I think it was around chapter 10 or so.)
4. Your brain is always expandable at any time at any age. Forget your IQ, forget the way you think you learn best (by hearing, by seeing, by doing), and forget your past experiences with learning a particular topic. Just do it. It has been proven that the aquisition of a new language, in particular, prevents mental decline as we age. (From chapter 24)
The only people who might find this course fascinating for more than what is listed above are teachers or parents what are interested in educational theory. As far as personal practical application goes, this course leaves a lot to be desired.
The teaser review that comes up for this course is just plain misguided. As a former Ivy league professor I applaud Professor Robinson's approach to ..Show More »the topic. He puts modern and historic psychology and its underlying theories in the perspective necessary to understand the rational basis from which they were derived.
I am a scientist and I felt this his approach and coverage of a diverse set of related topics was excellent. I should also point out that my wife who is a mental health professional also found this book to be not only a great read, but an excellent coverage of the topic.
The breadth of this lecture series is considerable, although I was hoping for a little more depth. The lecturer is very careful to qualify his informa..Show More »tion with peer reviewed research, which is refreshing. I guess I primarily had hoped that there was more new information out there, since I had already heard much of this from other sources. Narrated well. The lecturer is a skilled public speaker who knows how to maintain attention during a lecture.
This course exceeded my expectations and has given me insight into understanding the problems and difficulties of those trying to recover from addicti..Show More »ons of any kind. I am inspired to listen to it again as it has equipped me to grasp the reasons why recovery from addiction, of many kinds, is so seemingly impossible for some sufferers and knowing what I now know I can be support with confidence and genuine hope. Thank you .