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Understanding the Brain

Understanding the Brain takes you inside the astonishingly complex brain and shows you how it works, from the gross level of its organization to the molecular level of how cells communicate. With its combination of neurology, biology, and psychology, this course helps you understand how we perceive the world through our senses, how we move, how we learn and remember, and how emotions affect our thoughts and actions.
Average Customer Rating:
4.648 out of 5
4.6
 out of 
5
(142 Reviews) 133
Open Ratings Snapshot
Rating Snapshot (142 reviews)
5 stars
119
4 stars
8
3 stars
7
2 stars
4
1 star
4
"11913290%of reviewers would recommend this series to a friend."
Customer Questions & Answers:
5 Questions | 8 Answers
Customer Reviews for Understanding the Brain
Review 41 for Understanding the Brain
Overall Rating
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Course Content
4 out of 5
4 out of 5
Professor Presentation
5 out of 5
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Course Value
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Location:Philadelphia
Enthralling
Date:November 17, 2010
" Our understanding of the brain is growing in leaps and bounds. This is a wonderful way to learn the basic anatomy and physiology, as well as an introduction to some of the big questions concerning learning, memory, and emotion.
A self-help note crept in during the last three lectures, which I found tedious and irritating. I would rather not have wasted three lectures being told to eat right, lose weight, and think happy thoughts.
The course overall was fascinating and Professor Norden's presentation was very fine. "
+3points
3out of 3found this review helpful.
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Review 42 for Understanding the Brain
Overall Rating
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Course Content
4 out of 5
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Professor Presentation
4 out of 5
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Course Value
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Location:Tempe, AZ
a perfect place to start or review!
Date:July 21, 2010
" When learning anything new for the first time or when you are relatively new to a certain area, it's critical to build a strong foundation first and find the simplest material on the subject matter that you can. This lecture is perhaps the best place to start when first learning about the brain and how it functions. I don't think Professor Norton's lectures could be made any clearer. After taking this course and putting forth the effort to understand everything which was discussed, you will be able to read other material on the brain and be able to appreciate and enjoy it. This is an excellent course to take along with Professor Sapolsky's "Biology and Human Behavior". $100.00 for this course is a big bargin considering the fact that if you went to a university to take a series of courses which would cover the equivalent amount of material, you'd spend more for the text book + tuition. The other thing about buying a course like this is that you can pull it out and watch different parts whenever you please. Also, if you go to a university there is never any guarrantee that the professor is going to be any good. The courses sold here however are all done by first rate professors... take advantage of this. "
+3points
3out of 3found this review helpful.
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Review 43 for Understanding the Brain
Overall Rating
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Course Content
5 out of 5
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Professor Presentation
5 out of 5
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Course Value
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Location:Parksville, BC Canada
This course makes learning fun...
Date:March 2, 2010
" Understanding the Brain is the 1st course that I have taken from the Teaching Company. I found the course instructor Professor Jeanette Norden to be truly outstanding. She has taken a highly complex subject and presented it in a very understandable format.
I found it useful to read the course outline; watch the lecture and then follow up with reading the course transcript. I have previously taken courses in neuroscience and found them to be so detailed that I could not see the “forest for the trees.” I memorized hundreds of nuclei, pathways and anatomical minutiae but was missing an overall appreciation of how the brain actually functioned.
Although the course barely scratches the surface it lays down an excellent foundation for future study. I appreciated Professor Norden’s enthusiasm and passion for the subject material. Thank you for making learning fun! "
+3points
3out of 3found this review helpful.
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Review 44 for Understanding the Brain
Overall Rating
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
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5 out of 5
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Professor Presentation
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Course Value
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Location:Chicago, IL Metro Area
Fantastic Lecture Series
Date:August 29, 2009
" I thought Professor Norden was a fantastic instructor. She spoke clearly and distinctly and was extremely professional throughout the course. Although one previous reviewer did not like when Professor Norden indicated that something was important, I did not mind as she usually was tying various concepts together and, in my opinion, wanted to make sure we were connecting the dots as this material (for many of us) was very new.
I admit, since this was unfamiliar material to me, I didn't find each and every lecture fascinating, and especially at first when she was going through pointing to all the parts of the brain, I was a bit bored. But when she started getting into the lectures about what each part did and related one or more stories as to what happened to people who had damage to the part, I was hooked. Every day as soon as I got home from work, I would load up the DVD player and listen to one or two more lectures. Then I started relating these stories to people I knew and everyone wanted to know where I learned these things--I think the Teaching Company has gained a few new customers from these lectures. "
+3points
3out of 3found this review helpful.
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Review 45 for Understanding the Brain
Overall Rating
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Course Content
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Professor Presentation
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Course Value
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Location:Washington, DC
Neuroscience for the Layman
Date:May 31, 2009
" As an individual who has always spurned science courses, I started this series with trepidation. Yet I came away wishing the course were longer, with a desire to learn more about Neuroscience on my own. I find that I often use what I have learned to understand more about the world in which I live.
It is obvious that Dr. Norden realizes this course will be used by those with no background in Neuroscience and she wants to infect us with her enthusiasm. She uses every appropriate opportunity to review prior learning.
She is personable, enthusiastic, knowledgeable, and engaging.
While Dr. Norden makes concessions to those listening to a CD, I do believe that the DVD version will provide you with greater understanding. The graphics used and brain model were essential to my understanding the lectures and learning the material. "
+3points
3out of 3found this review helpful.
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Review 46 for Understanding the Brain
Overall Rating
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
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5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Professor Presentation
5 out of 5
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Course Value
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Location:West Coast
Delightful Presenter
Date:January 8, 2009
" This coarse serves it's purpose very well, primarily because of the attitude, enthusiasm, and teaching style of the presenter. Unfamiliar concepts and terminology are reinforced through comfortable and appropriate repetition. Each section can almost stand alone as testimony to it's completeness. "
+3points
3out of 3found this review helpful.
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Review 47 for Understanding the Brain
Overall Rating
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
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5 out of 5
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Professor Presentation
5 out of 5
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5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Location:Michigan
really great
Date:December 26, 2008
" I rank this as one of the top 5 courses I have ever had and I have been buying and listening to these tapes for many years now. You will listen to this course over and over again and learn something new each time. They will leave you wishing for a part II. "
+3points
3out of 3found this review helpful.
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Review 48 for Understanding the Brain
Overall Rating
4 out of 5
4 out of 5
Course Content
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Professor Presentation
4 out of 5
4 out of 5
Course Value
4 out of 5
4 out of 5
Location:Princeton, NJ
Worthwhile, Even 8 Years Later
Date:February 18, 2015
" Not much to add to the many reviews, so I'll be brief.
This is a well done review of neuroscience for non-scientists. Even though it was made in 2007, it still provides a worthwhile introduction for any interested. (As a physician, albeit not a neurologist, I have at least some background for assessing this.)
The focus is partly on neuroanatomy, and especially on the many and remarkable brain functions which have been mapped to particular anatomic areas. The anatomy and physiology of neurons and other brain cells are also reviewed in a very basic and understandable fashion. Some interesting history of the discoveries and discoverers is included as well.
And Professor Norden nicely makes clear what was not (and, for the most part, is still not) known - particularly how the individual and small group cellular functions work with each other to produce, at the macro level, the amazing capabilities of the human (or any other) brain.
Professor Norden is an enthusiastic and knowledgeable teacher. She is also so likable that it feels wrong to say anything even a little negative about her. But her lecture style is somewhat inelegant and choppy, with frequent use of incomplete sentences and unneeded word fillers (e.g., "and things like that," "really," and "very, very, very.") Occasionally terms are used before they are defined, and many simple points are repeated unnecessarily.
The visuals are plentiful and helpful, but Professor Norden sometimes relies on hand gestures to demonstrate anatomy or physiology when a visual would obviously have been much clearer. The Course Guidebook is quite good, and contains a detailed glossary, biographical notes on important scientific contributors, and a fairly extensive annotated bibliography.
My one major criticism concerns the frequent discussion of animal experiments. I support animal research for scientific and medical purposes when the animals are treated as 'humanely' as possible. But Professor Norden makes absolutely no mention of the ethics of animal research. She should have. (In fact, in lecture 30 she presents a brief video, which she laughs at and characterizes as "hysterically funny," of a rat who was endocrinologically tricked into "thinking" and behaving as if he was actually a she. This may have been justifiable from a research standpoint, but should not be presented as a source of humor.)
So - a worthwhile course as an introduction for any with an interest in this field. "
+2points
2out of 2found this review helpful.
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Review 49 for Understanding the Brain
Overall Rating
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
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5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Professor Presentation
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Course Value
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Location:mid west
Date:February 11, 2015
" Very detailed-very textbook like-tons of information "
+2points
2out of 2found this review helpful.
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Review 50 for Understanding the Brain
Overall Rating
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
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5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Professor Presentation
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Course Value
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Location:Minot, ND
My Favorite So Far
Date:June 11, 2012
" My daughter is under a neurologists care and I purchased this course to have some basic knowledge of the brain.
I would take any courses taught by Dr Norden. She seems to be a very warm and concerned human being and I was sorry to see the class end.
"
+2points
2out of 2found this review helpful.
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Review 51 for Understanding the Brain
Overall Rating
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Course Content
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Professor Presentation
5 out of 5
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5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Location:Boston, MA
Understanding the Brain
Date:May 25, 2011
" Dr. Norden is an extraordinary instructor. Not only is the course content fascinating, she presents it in such a way that the viewer retains the information. She also illustrates the lecture content through patient case studies that are exceptionally well-chosen. I have enjoyed many Teaching Company courses but I believe this is the best one I have taken, thanks to Dr. Norden. She certainly deserves all the teaching awards she has received. "
+2points
2out of 2found this review helpful.
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Review 52 for Understanding the Brain
Overall Rating
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
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5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Professor Presentation
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Course Value
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Location:Michigan.
Fascinating
Date:May 6, 2011
" I completely enjoy Prof. Norden. I think she presents things very clearly, very well-paced, and on the right level. After each lecture, I feel more and more amazed by the brain and all that it does.
I really think that those people who've given this course bad reviews don't understand the difference between neuroscience and psychology. This is not a psychology course - it's biology!
"
+2points
2out of 2found this review helpful.
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Review 53 for Understanding the Brain
Overall Rating
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Course Content
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Professor Presentation
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Course Value
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Location:Ottawa, Ont
Didn't want the course to end
Date:September 12, 2010
" Professor Norden promised that this course would amaze and she was right. There is so much information to absorb about the brain that the journey would have been bewildering without such a gracious and well-organized introduction. By the time the course reached midway I was astonished to realize that all the arcane language that neuroscientists use to describe the location, structure and functioning of the brain had become familiar and I was following along for insights into the clinical pathology of the most common disorders. I understand much better now about Alzheimer's disease. The information about the role of emotion guidance and moral choice and the limbic system was fascinating.
Professor Norden's extensive experience and passion come through in these lectures. I wish there were 36 more to go! "
+2points
2out of 2found this review helpful.
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Review 54 for Understanding the Brain
Overall Rating
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Course Content
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Professor Presentation
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Course Value
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
After all these years, it's coming together
Date:August 28, 2010
" In 1972 I took a neuropharmacology class in the last semester of pharmacy school and was graciously awarded a good grade for some material I quite frankly did not understand very well. The main thing I learned in the class was the complexity of the subject. Dr. Norden is an exceptional teacher and vastly enlightened my understanding of a number of topics. I have read Elegy for Iris and Aging with Grace as suggested companion reading. Soon, I will be using this newly acquired information in working with cardiac rehab patients and nurses. This is about the 15th Teaching Company course I have done and it is certainly one of the best ones. "
+2points
2out of 2found this review helpful.
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Review 55 for Understanding the Brain
Overall Rating
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
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5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Professor Presentation
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
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5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Location:Los Angeles
Superb
Date:June 6, 2010
" I have bought and enjoyed many teaching company videos and this is my favorite so far. Jeanette Norden is a wonderful teacher and the subject is fascinating. The pace is perfect and the content is presented well. "
+2points
2out of 2found this review helpful.
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Review 56 for Understanding the Brain
Overall Rating
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Course Content
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Professor Presentation
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Course Value
4 out of 5
4 out of 5
Location:Dallas, Tx
A Fresh Approach
Date:May 6, 2010
" After completing Dr. Goodman's course on Anatomy and Physiologly, I desired to know more about the inner workings of the brain itself. He did a great job of giving an overview of the inner workings of the brain, but his approach left me wanting to know more.
With that in mind, I decided to give Dr. Norden's course a try. I have completed about 10 Teaching Company Couses, and I have to say that this is one of the very best that I have seen. It is clear that she is very knowledgable and passionate about the material, but she presents her material with compassion as well. For example when she presents topics such as Stroke, Depression, and Parkinson's disease, she is very carefull to present sensitive material in a non-offensive manner. One can see her human compassion for needless suffering in her presentations.
The interest level is always well maintained. She does this by a variety of methods, including visual examples, real life clinical examples, and everyday practical examples that ensure a great retention of the material.
Some of the material is complex by the very nature of the material, but the on-screen graphics, as well as the material in the guidebook are of great assistance. In addition, Dr. Norden is always reviewing prior material, as it relates to the subject at hand. The over-all organization that was chosen is excellent in my opinion, and helps one to asorb the material more effectively.
From reading this professor's credintials, I would love to see her teach a course on cellular biology. I am sure it would be equally informative. "
+2points
2out of 2found this review helpful.
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Review 57 for Understanding the Brain
Overall Rating
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Course Content
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Professor Presentation
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Course Value
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Location:San Francisco
Excellent Course
Date:April 9, 2010
" I purchased this class to help me understand the functions of the brain when I was enrolled in a college-level anatomy and physiology class. I have to say that this program helped me extensivly, enabling me to get a good grade on my exam, which enabled me to get into a very competitive master's program.
The professor takes what can be a very difficult subject and explains it in a way that is easy to understand. The visuals she uses are helpful in explaining the lesson and she explains recent research and changes in the study of the brain. In fact, my parents [who don't have an education beyond elementary school] loved this professor's DVDs and found her lessons fascinating. The lesson dealing with Alzheimer's Disease is especially interesting. The workbook also helps with the learning process.
Also, her use of and mentioning of her dachshund was fun and made the lesson interesting and gave her personality.
These are great lessons for anyone who wants to go into the health field. "
+2points
2out of 2found this review helpful.
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Review 58 for Understanding the Brain
Overall Rating
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
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5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Professor Presentation
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
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5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Location:Frederick MD
Amazing
Date:December 7, 2009
" 5 stars all the way. Fascinating material, gifted teacher. "
+2points
2out of 2found this review helpful.
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Review 59 for Understanding the Brain
Overall Rating
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
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5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Professor Presentation
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
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5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Location:Houston, Texas
Challenged and Amazed
Date:November 20, 2009
" Dr. Norden's enthusiasm for the subject matter of this class is infectious. She is an excellent teacher, and states at the beginning of the class that she wants her students to be both challenged and amazed by the material in this class. She achieves this goal splendidly. Thank you, Dr. Norden! "
+2points
2out of 2found this review helpful.
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Review 60 for Understanding the Brain
Overall Rating
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
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5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Professor Presentation
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Course Value
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Location:Pismo Beach, CA
Understanding The Brain
Date:September 24, 2009
" Dr. Norden presented this course in a manner that was pleasing to my brain! It didn't all come clear, but I understand so much more than I did at the beginning. The lectures were well organized and kept my attention. Even her pets added a delightful touch! Having worked for a neurosurgeon, much of this had a note of familiarity. I've enjoyed all of the courses from The Teaching Company, but this one is a definite favorite! "
+2points
2out of 2found this review helpful.
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