Wikipedia talk:WikiProject Neuroscience

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Brain size and Human brain size[edit]

An editor recently moved Brain size to Human brain size, and I believe that this requires some discussion. After all, most of the size differences between brains occur between species, not within the human species, although evolution of the human brain is obviously a very important part of the encyclopedic topic. I'm uncomfortable with this move. --Tryptofish (talk) 20:21, 6 September 2014 (UTC)

I actually think it might be better to make this species specific. Relationships between brain size and other metrics for humans probably don't hold for many other species. With that in mind, I'm not sure how a general article on animal brain size could be adequately covered due to the massive scope of that topic. A more limited topic like the brain size of hominids would probably be more workable though. Seppi333 (Insert  | Maintained) 20:39, 6 September 2014 (UTC)
He also moved all the animal-related content out to Brain-to-body mass ratio, which is a more appropriate way to look at the issue across species. Perhaps Brain size should redirect there now. But he certainly should have discussed the matter first, & should be told as much. Johnbod (talk) 20:40, 6 September 2014 (UTC)
If we do go with having a human-specific page, I'd be inclined to flip the body mass ratio page around the other way. In other words, rename Brain-to-body mass ratio as Brain size, making the body mass ratio a major section of that page. I'm basing that on what I suspect readers would first look for in searching for a page, since the ratio is a rather technical term. It would parallel the way we have Human brain as well as a more general page about Brain. We might also want to look at where Evolution of the brain fits into all of this. --Tryptofish (talk) 20:54, 6 September 2014 (UTC)
Brain size per se (across species) is not scientifically interesting - obviously an elephant has a bigger brain than a mouse (well, obviously or not, it has). It is the variations in the ratio between species that are interesting. Johnbod (talk) 02:37, 7 September 2014 (UTC)

I have already said I support the idea of merging Brain-to-body mass ratio with brain size.. It seems to explain most of the animal part.. And I am supportive of anything that improve the current situation.MicroMacroMania (talk) 16:31, 7 September 2014 (UTC)

A very helpful thing to do here would be to look for reliable sources both for what terminology they use and for how they relate the topic(s) to one another. Are there reliable sources that treat all species with brains together in an overview, or are there not? For this kind of topic, we should especially look at the content guideline about reliable sources on medicine. -- WeijiBaikeBianji (talk, how I edit) 03:24, 7 September 2014 (UTC)
Brain-to-body mass ratio and the related Encephalization quotient are well-established topics in biology, and there are plenty of RS, several used in the various articles. Historically, human brain size across genders (female brains are smaller) has a long and dubious history; I'm not sure it's a very active topic these days, or much covered in medicine per se. Johnbod (talk) 10:52, 7 September 2014 (UTC)

Hey! I reversed all my edits.. Seems like you guess want a discussing first. Anyway I am sorry for that.. Anyway I think there is a talk page going on the page about brain size.. MicroMacroMania (talk) 07:53, 7 September 2014 (UTC)

Thanks, I'm personally adverse to having separate human titled articles as most people will be looking for human content, and as John says Brain size on its own is irrelevant. -- CFCF 🍌 (email) 08:15, 7 September 2014 (UTC)

When we are having the discussion. we can merge the article about "Brain-to-body_mass_ratio" with the article "brain size", if you think than is a better way to have the topic structured. Most of the stuff about animals deal with that part as you mentioned. I added some more text to the part about "cranial capacity" btw. MicroMacroMania (talk) 10:23, 7 September 2014 (UTC)

I very much think that we need to slow down on the page edits, because we do not yet have a consensus (and frankly, I'm having difficulty following what page has what, at this point). Some editors have said that they don't want to have separate human-titled pages, because readers are only interested in humans anyway. Although I agree that readers are more interested in humans, keep in mind that we have both Brain and Human brain, and there is plenty of encyclopedic content in the former. I take the points that it is the brain-body ratio and not brain size that differs in interesting ways across species, and that both the ratio and the quotient are subjects that are well-sourced. But as I see it, that misses the point. As long as we have redirects from the more technical terms, and have page sections that cover the technical topics in the necessary detail, that doesn't mean that we shouldn't name the pages in terms of "size". Please see WP:UCRN. It seems to me that we are dealing with content that, broadly, falls into two groups (but not with precise boundaries): the basic biology of how brains evolved in animal species, and the specifically human subject of the human brain and how it came about and how it may vary. Both of those two subjects are encyclopedic, and both merit distinct pages here. --Tryptofish (talk) 19:10, 7 September 2014 (UTC)

To clarify what the controversy was–major articles on anatomy such as thorax, heart etc. didn't mention humans, and covered insects and other animals, just not humans. When it comes to Brain & Human brain there should be very little controversy as there is so much material available, and when people think of a brain they might not necessarily think of the human brain at once. So until we start arbitrarily splitting locus coeruleus into a main and a human article things should be okay in this project.
An example that is covered by this project: Human sex differences in psychology instead of Sex differences in psychology–of course the second alternative is going to be the common name.
So to move forward, could we list the articles that do exist, and just very briefly what they are on, so that we can discuss the best naming regimen? -- CFCF 🍌 (email) 06:19, 8 September 2014 (UTC)
I understand better what you mean now, thanks. Of course, with psychology, there is an implicit assumption that material for a general readership will be about human psychology unless specified otherwise; and for anatomy, the brain is different from other organs because of its complex association with mind and all those other brainy things.
Your point about getting a list of articles together in one place is a very good one, and I'm going to try to do that now. --Tryptofish (talk) 19:47, 8 September 2014 (UTC)

My main issue with brain size is that is a giant article that cover a giant subject.. I just want it shorten down and split up in some extent.MicroMacroMania (talk) 07:36, 8 September 2014 (UTC)

Articles for consideration[edit]

Here is a list of pages that I think we may want to consider in this discussion:

Please add others I might have overlooked. (I'll leave notes at each talk page.)

Obviously, Brain and Human brain should remain as individual pages, as they are now. For the others, there's an open question as to whether any of them should be merged, and if so, what gets merged into what. Personally, I think there is room for some consolidation, but I would like to keep material that is specifically about the human brain separate, in this reorganization, from material about how brains have changed from species to species. I also think that WP:UCRN is important to consider. --Tryptofish (talk) 20:00, 8 September 2014 (UTC)

Thanks for creating the list. I would just add cranial capacity, currently a redirect to brain size. They are obviously not synonymous, but cranial capacity is sometimes used as a predictor of brain size, especially by anthropologists. --Mark viking (talk) 20:19, 8 September 2014 (UTC)
I added it to the list. --Tryptofish (talk) 20:55, 8 September 2014 (UTC)
  • I would reinstate MMM's edits, splitting out the non-human content of Brain size to Brain-to-body mass ratio (which most of it concerns anyway), and leaving the remainder as Human brain size. Leave the rest. Some tidying-up would be needed. Brain size should either be a disam page, or redirect to Brain-to-body mass ratio or Human brain size. Johnbod (talk) 20:36, 8 September 2014 (UTC)
    • I'm starting to think about, instead, moving all the human-related material at Brain size to Human brain size, which is similar to what you are suggesting, but instead, I think that Evolution of the brain should be the primary page for the other material. I think that Brain-to-body mass ratio, Encephalization quotient, and Cranial capacity could all be sections within (and redirects to) Evolution of the brain (again, putting importance on WP:UCRN). I don't really see the need for separate pages for two of the three methods. Then, I think Brain size would be a redirect to Human brain size, and there would be cross-pointing hatnotes at the tops of Human brain size and Evolution of the brain. --Tryptofish (talk) 21:17, 8 September 2014 (UTC)
    • I'm ambivalent about one thing, and going back and forth about it: Although I definitely do think that Evolution of the brain should be one of the pages, I'm ambivalent about whether the other should be Human brain size (per Johnbod), or Brain size (per what CFCF said above the section break). --Tryptofish (talk) 23:23, 8 September 2014 (UTC)
      • I hadn't actually looked at Evolution of the brain, which seems misnamed. I think it should be merged into Brain-to-body mass ratio, which most of it actually deals with (not as well as the other article). There's only a couple of sentences really on Evolution of the brain - there no doubt is plenty to say on that, but this doesn't do it. Johnbod (talk) 23:32, 8 September 2014 (UTC)
        • In its present state, Evolution of the brain needs a lot of work, but I think that it should be the target page name, because it is really the primary topic, and because of WP:UCRN. --Tryptofish (talk) 23:39, 8 September 2014 (UTC)
          • The variation in Brain-to-body mass ratio is the focus in scientific interest, and the main subject of these various texts, mostly in terms of various species alive today. This is not what one expects to find at "Evolution of the brain", which should cover how different large groups of animals have different brain structures and functions, and how these have developed in evolution. There's none of that in these articles, which mainly deal with mammals anyway. We shouldn't name a page for a subject it doesn't cover. Johnbod (talk) 23:56, 8 September 2014 (UTC)
            • I'm thinking about this in terms of what the articles should become, going forward, as opposed to what they currently contain, because in their present form they still need a lot of work. Although evolution obviously is something that has occurred over time, it is very much reflected in species that are present today (phylogeny if you prefer). Subject to all the caveats about Google hits, Google Scholar returns 2,910,000 results for "evolution of the brain", [1], versus 1,860 for "brain-to-body mass ratio", [2]. That's a big difference. --Tryptofish (talk) 00:11, 9 September 2014 (UTC)
              • Those are bridges we should cross when and if we come to them. Johnbod (talk) 21:45, 9 September 2014 (UTC)
                • Well, right now, we are at the time when "evolution of the brain" is the correct choice per WP:UCRN, and "brain-to-body mass ratio" is the wrong one. --Tryptofish (talk) 22:51, 9 September 2014 (UTC)

As mention my main problem with brain size is the giant scope of the article. You might want to add Bergmann's rule.. Is also in the subject cause of biogeograohic variation in brain size.. That is an example of bergmanns rule..

But from what I can see there is two things we can do:

  • 1. Human part to human brain as a separate part called size, though the part about bio-geographic variation go to Bergmann's rule. Animals to Brain-to-body mass ratio. Cranial capacity get a separate article.
  • 2. Separate article about human brain size all about humans stay. Animals to Brain-to-body mass ratio. And cranial capacity get a separate article.

I to be honest dont know what is best...MicroMacroMania (talk) 07:41, 9 September 2014 (UTC)

What reliable sources for articles on medical topics do you have to recommend? Merely gathering a bunch of (possibly unreplicated) primary research articles based on suggestions from blogs would be a very bad way to go about reorganizing and updating articles here on Wikipedia. -- WeijiBaikeBianji (talk, how I edit) 15:51, 9 September 2014 (UTC)

Huh? I havent added any study from a blog.. what are you talking about? And just made a response to the above. And I have used a large amount of time trying to fix the article brain size. Havent you seen my edits and adding of more sources. But you are welcome to help trying to improve the article.. MicroMacroMania (talk) 16:08, 9 September 2014 (UTC)

I looked at Bergmann's rule, and it doesn't seem to me to be about the brain, more like the whole body, so I don't think it figures here. --Tryptofish (talk) 22:53, 9 September 2014 (UTC)

Seems like the discussion is over.. Case closed..MicroMacroMania (talk) 10:59, 27 September 2014 (UTC)


I believe rather strongly that we need to comply with WP:UCRN in deciding which page titles to use. Although Google hits are not a perfect measure (and neither is anything else), I think that we can regard Google Scholar as an approximate guide in assessing what is the common name that our readers would search for, and what names are less familiar, and thus, potentially redirects to a page with the common name. Here is what I find:

Evolution of the brain: 2,910,000 [3]
Brain-to-body mass ratio: 1,860 [4]
Encephalization quotient: 1,770 [5]
Cranial capacity: 147,000 [6]

It's pretty clear, I think, that Evolution of the brain is by far the most common term, even in scholarly sources, and I think that it might make sense to merge the other 2 pages and the redirect into it. --Tryptofish (talk) 23:05, 9 September 2014 (UTC)

Unfortunately "Evolution of the brain is by far the most common term" for something entirely different to what these articles cover! The relevant part of the titles of a couple of the top hits is allometry; most others are about completely different topics. Johnbod (talk) 01:21, 10 September 2014 (UTC)
But those "different" topics still are, per (most of) those sources, about "evolution of the brain". At this point, I think the two of us have each laid out our arguments pretty clearly, and we don't seem to be converging on a solution, so I'd like to step back and hear what other editors think. --Tryptofish (talk) 01:56, 10 September 2014 (UTC)

We do not seem to actually agree on what to do. But to be specific. We agree that cranial capacity should have its own article? Or you want to keep it under brain sizeMicroMacroMania (talk) 08:45, 12 September 2014 (UTC)

I'm not sure what to say, because I still hope to hear from more editors. There are a couple of editors who are usually very active at this WikiProject, but who have not commented here; perhaps they are away, and perhaps they will comment here in the near future. I've already said that I'd like to see cranial capacity and some other pages become parts of Evolution of the brain. Anyway, WP:There is no deadline. --Tryptofish (talk) 22:17, 12 September 2014 (UTC)

Well I just needed to check. I am totally in favor of waiting a week or two to let everyone comment. We need to get everyones opinion :) MicroMacroMania (talk) 06:14, 13 September 2014 (UTC)

From what I understand I brought the idea of having a part about brain size in the article human brain? Just containing what is not primary sources of the brain size and not about direct brain size, just the most important. MicroMacroMania (talk) 18:31, 21 September 2014 (UTC)

@Looie496, Randykitty, Mark viking, and CFCF: I feel like this discussion would benefit from input from more editors, so I'm pinging four editors who frequently comment at this WikiProject. If you have any advice, thanks, and if not, no worries. --Tryptofish (talk) 21:49, 21 September 2014 (UTC)

My thoughts: (1) Brain size should be a separate article, because it is often treated in non-evolutionary terms. "Comparative" is not the same as "evolutionary". (2) There should be separate articles for evolution of the brain and evolution of the human brain. The latter would focus on the part of the pathway after the origin of primates. There is tons of material on that topic and it doesn't really fit well in a general article on brain evolution. (3) Human brain size would best be treated in an article such as brain and intelligence rather than a separate article of its own. However I am open to a separate article if there is enough material to support it. Looie496 (talk) 12:47, 22 September 2014 (UTC)
I follow that line of reasoning, and like the suggestions. My only fear is that by having evolution of the human brain we get an article with very little page-views and few readers/editors, thus condemning it to poor quality. While I'm adverse to arbitrarily splitting articles into a main and a human I can get behind this one as long as the evolution of the human brain is discussed in the main article as well, with a proper {{main|evolution of the human brain}} link and section. -- CFCF 🍌 (email) 17:57, 22 September 2014 (UTC)
Looking at the articles, there are a couple of different axes along which brain size is considered. One axis is in allometry, where scaling in brain size, brain-body ratio, encephalization quotient, brain surface area, etc, are considered in a cohort of different animals in the present day. Another axis is evolution of the brain, which considers evolutionary development and change of qualitative structures in the brain as well as size. Evolution of brain size in hominids is a notable subtopic in this. A third axis is medical implications of brain size in humans: what range of sizes are normal, pathologies, differences by gender and ethnicity (although the latter could be considered evolutionary, too.) Given these different axes, I agree with CFCF and Looie496 that Brain size (738,000 Google hits) for the allometric, comparative aspects makes sense, as does evolution of the brain for evolutionary aspects. I think there is enough secondary content out there to support evolution of the human brain as a subtopic. We could leave the medical axis for another day, as the current articles considered don't much touch on this. --Mark viking (talk) 19:15, 22 September 2014 (UTC)

I seem to agree with above statement somewhat. But the article evolution of the brain certainly need some work before it is a good article. We keep brain size as a separate article. But what about cranial capacity? Do we let it stay as a part give it a separate article? MicroMacroMania (talk) 19:42, 22 September 2014 (UTC)

Thanks to the editors who responded to my ping. To answer the question about cranial capacity, it seems to me that, since we seem to have an emerging consensus for a page on brain size, dealing primarily with allometric rather than evolutionary aspects, there is so little difference between cranial capacity and brain size that I think cranial capacity should continue to be a redirect to brain size. About a possible page about brain and intelligence, I'd be reluctant to create such a page as a result of the discussion here, given the ArbCom restrictions on the subject. I also agree with the opinions that have been given about having pages about evolution, and I can point out that someone more up-to-date than I could probably add a lot of encyclopedic material about molecular evidence about brain evolution.

So, I think there is an emerging consensus about the following pages:

That leaves these two pages, for which I do not yet see much of a consensus in any direction:

I suppose, absent any further comments in this discussion, we should go with the status quo, so that each of those two pages would remain standalone pages, covered per WP:Summary style in Brain size and perhaps in the two evolution pages.

--Tryptofish (talk) 22:35, 24 September 2014 (UTC)

I agree with your conclusions on the emerging consensus and think summary style in Brain size is a good compromise for Brain-to-body mass ratio and Encephalization quotient. I would support this approach. --Mark viking (talk) 23:13, 24 September 2014 (UTC)

Seems like we found agreement. Case closed I guess?MicroMacroMania (talk) 11:01, 27 September 2014 (UTC)

Wait, something I never got cleared out, what about the small summary I wrote about brain size? It could not be used anywhere? Link: I wrote it as a small subsection for the article human brain as a link to the article about brain size. MicroMacroMania (talk) 15:48, 27 September 2014 (UTC)

I would say that it should not go into Human brain. It needs some revising (which can come later), and revisions could go, mostly, into Brain size, and perhaps in small part, into the new Evolution of the human brain. --Tryptofish (talk) 19:51, 27 September 2014 (UTC)

Ok seems like we got everything cleared out :)MicroMacroMania (talk) 20:02, 27 September 2014 (UTC)

It saddens me that cranial capacity did not get a separate page. There is enough material in the topic. MicroMacroMania (talk) 07:18, 9 October 2014 (UTC)

Talk:John O'Keefe (neuroscientist)[edit]

There is some discussion here about an IP trying to insert some (fringe?) views into the article. (Presumably,) the same person is spamming neuroscientists on ResearchGate with this stuff. Some extra eyes may be helpful, especially from someone who can confirm whether or not this is indeed fringe stuff (I'm not qualified for that, it's just that the way this guy is going about it has "fringe" written all over it...). --Randykitty (talk) 12:16, 29 October 2014 (UTC)

I've responded there. @Looie496: you know a lot about this subject, so maybe you could check it as well. Thanks. --Tryptofish (talk) 15:38, 29 October 2014 (UTC)
I'm not too much into electrophysiology and haven't followed the field very closely recently... Thanks for looking into this! --Randykitty (talk) 16:06, 29 October 2014 (UTC)

Open Access Reader, tool to find missing academic citations[edit]

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EdSaperia (talk) 13:22, 9 December 2014 (UTC)


I have nominated Cerebellum for a featured article review here. Please join the discussion on whether this article meets featured article criteria. Articles are typically reviewed for two weeks. If substantial concerns are not addressed during the review period, the article will be moved to the Featured Article Removal Candidates list for a further period, where editors may declare "Keep" or "Delist" the article's featured status. The instructions for the review process are here. DrKiernan (talk) 13:07, 19 December 2014 (UTC)

WikiProject X is live![edit]

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Harej (talk) 16:57, 14 January 2015 (UTC)

Wikipedia talk:Articles for creation/Apparent Movement[edit]

Dear neuroscience experts: This old AfC submission will soon be deleted as a stale draft. Is there material here that should be added to the article Phi phenomenon? If so, I can move the draft to Apparent movement, which is currently an empty redirect, and redirect it to the Phi phenomenon article until someone with knowledge in this area wants to take on the merge. I can help with the attribution templates if necessary. However, if the content isn't useful, leaving it unedited should lead to its deletion in the next week or two. —Anne Delong (talk) 21:54, 20 January 2015 (UTC)

@Anne Delong: thanks for posting this. I've taken a quick look and there does not appear to be very much that needs to be incorporated into Phi. All that I can see are the two examples at the beginning of the Example section: electronic signs and motion pictures. But I'd rather have someone who knows more about the source material than I do check whether those two examples really apply. This subject is actually not so much a neuroscience topic as a psychology one, so I would strongly recommend posting about this article at WT:WikiProject Psychology, where you are more likely to get knowledgeable input. --Tryptofish (talk) 23:20, 20 January 2015 (UTC)