I'm undecided on this question, less because of the question which was edited, more of the answer. It points to autism, a HUMAN abnormality, if the answer would give as example a physical trait also appearing on animals, there would probably no problem. But this question might be a good reason to discuss, where to draw the line between cognitivesciences.se and biology.se, as there is some interdisciplinary overlap, when it comes to

  • Evolutionary Psychology
  • Ethology/Sociobiology
  • Neuroscience (-Physiology)

Seems tricky to me to find clear guidelines, esp. as cognisciences.se also has a neurobiology tag. Taking question above as a example, every Q&A on human abnormalities in my humble opinion belongs to cognisciences.se, as from a methodological point of view biology deals with comparing characterics between different type of organisms. So as physics is a underlying key discipline for biology, biology is a underlying key discipline for Psychology. But purely human abnormalities therefore cannot be analysed by physical or biological theories. There is no methodological way in biology to explain and categorize autism between different organisms. Emerging field of epigenetics has shown that genetics is no "theory of everything" in biology and psychology, esp. for evolutionary psychology and religious studies. There are strong external environmental factors.

To my knowledge Autism is also no behavioural disorder, it is a development disorder, but Im no expert of exact terminology here. I dont have to explain in detail how much and hard discussion on a link between genetics and human behaviour there is, the blogosphere is full of blogs on evolutionary psychology and religious studies ("using" evolution theory as explanation) with superficial generalizations. So it may be crucial to establish some clear guidelines the user of this site can rely on, to keep pseudo-sciene and generalizations as much as possible from this site away. Therefore I would rather tend to migrate or close questions on human behaviour and esp. purely human characterics of behaviour, if there is not really a clear specified context in the question with neurobiological basis/context.

Just my thoughts what answers here should regard besides problems and factors I missed. I think for neuroscience the guidelines are more intuitive, theory of mind, neural networks belongs to cogniscience.se, while neurophysiology of course better fits here. Didnt study cognisciences.meta.se in depth, but dont think they have currently any guidelines concerning this question. But loosing a lot interesting neurobiological questions to this place being aware of the SE rule, no duplicate questions, we probably should find a agreement, so neurobiology doesnt become splitted 50:50 on both sites.

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2 Answers 2

up vote 6 down vote accepted

The part of neuroscience that is ontopic here on Biology.SE is anything related to the molecular basis of neural processes or illnesses. Anything that goes more into the directions of psychology or psychriatry would be off-topic here.

There is a certain overlap between the sites for sure, but that isn't a problem and it doesn't mean we need a hard boundary between the sites. Certain questions can fit on both sites, and the users are free to choose which site they want to ask their question on.

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Why is this not being enforced? –  Artem Kaznatcheev Jul 20 '12 at 10:19

I'm currently the top or second from top (depending on the day) rep user on cogsci.se, a new stack exchange site on Cognitive Science, Psychology, and Psychiatry.

@WernerSchmitt asked a similar question on cogsci.se. This was my answer.

I guess the main aim is for questions to get good answers whereever they are posted. But I imagine there will be some migration of questions back and forward between the two sites in the future. Anyway, feel free to contribute to the dialogue here or on our meta site. And feel free to comment on any questions on our site that you think would get a better answer on biology.se.

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