Module taken in Sem 2 AY2014/15
What it is about: Biological Psychology. One of the five core mods. Basically, it’s all about biology (duh) and its role in people’s psyche (I’m just stating the obvious, aren’t I). You learn things such as how neurons transmit, which brain part is involved for what function, debates over dualism (at least for Prof Derbyshire), and so on. My favourite topic for this module was the topic on the left-right hemisphere.
Lecturer(/s): Prof Derbyshire
He’s really entertaining, and his quips here and there and British sayings during the lecture really amused me. I didn’t really enjoy his teaching style though, as it seemed way too philosophical for a module that is inherently scientific (/biological) in nature. I wouldn’t have minded if he had been teaching a Philosophy module, but it was quite confusing as I ended up not being sure if he wanted a philosophical-kind of essay, or if he wanted one that was all factual like your usual Biology essays. Even now, I’m still not sure.
Tutorials: My tutorial tutor was Egor, and he was quite… interesting. It was a tad intimidating to reply during tutorials because he just gives off this really intelligent air and it felt like he really knew A LOT about his area of study. For the first (or second, I’m not sure) tutorial, we had to make a 3D version of one of the brain parts, and explain what it does, so be prepared for that. For most tutorials, we had in-class brainstorming exercises on certain topics, followed by telling the class about what we learnt and our findings.
Workload/Examinations: For mid-terms, the workload was quite manageable, as Prof Derbyshire actually hinted and narrowed down what questions he would be testing. The format for mid-terms were, from what I remember, 3 essays. The first essay was just a copy-paste of a model essay that he explicitly hinted we could memorise and replicate it word-for-word. The rest of the essays depend on you.
For finals, the workload was much heavier, due to the sheer number of topics that could have possibly been tested. Due to the lack of time, we really had to guess and try to predict which topics he would test, and then just focus on those.
Other comments: Honestly, this module single-handedly killed my desire to major in Psych. It’s probably just me though, since I really like the social aspect of Psych, and this module just showed me how focused NUS Psychology seems to be on the brain and neural aspects instead (but don’t take my word on that, go consult people who have taken more Psych modules than me). Yes, if anyone can enlighten me further whether this view of mine is really accurate or not, do leave a comment, because I’m still trying to decide if I should major in Psych or not after all. 😀
My grade: B