As a young student, I have decided to learn some Cognitive Sciences (Neurology) independently, before I get any higher-education. I love Stack Exchange, so I would like to use this site as my main source to do so.

My question is, how can I use this site to learn basic and intermediate Neurology at a structured pace without overwhelming myself? Basically, in what ways can I use this site as a structured learning tool?

  • 3
    Read. Read read read.
    – Ben Brocka
    Aug 5, 2012 at 19:44
  • 1
    @BenBrocka That's my issue: read what?
    – Dynamic
    Aug 5, 2012 at 21:23
  • Wikipedia's a great start; their psychology articles are usually very accurate and reasonably in depth, lots of good starting points with links you can follow to read about related topics you find interesting. Browsing though tags here can help you learn some stuff but you'll need a good understanding of the basics
    – Ben Brocka
    Aug 5, 2012 at 21:44
  • IF you need a more concrete reading list than what @BenBrocka suggested, then take a look at this Reddit post. Aug 23, 2012 at 19:41
  • 1
    @ArtemKaznatcheev Can't go anywhere without seeing TED talks...
    – Ben Brocka
    Aug 23, 2012 at 20:42
  • @BenBrocka they are very entertaining to watch, and for some reason people have this misconception that they are scientifically accurate... Aug 23, 2012 at 20:51

2 Answers 2


Since others have already pointed you elsewhere (text, Wikipedia and I would add blogs), I would like to give you some general advice for both this site and the vast formal literature: follow good authors. The scientific literature is simply to vast too read without a goal. If you don't have a specific problem you are trying to solve, then just read the newest papers of good researchers. The same applies to our site.

On cogsci.SE the amount of scientifically-boring or content-void lay questions is too high to learn simply by reading. Most of the questions on here are simply not questions researchers would ask. They are fun questions and good for a lay audience, but not good if you want to learn tools researchers use and what interests them. If you want to learn, you have to be a little selective in your reading, at least at first. Select a few users that produce solid content and read all their questions and answers. This will orient you a bit in the field.

  • For extremely good Questions and answers with a neuroscience focus, consider reading Chuck Sherrington, H.Muster, Preece, and Vielle. I especially like Chuck's answers for synthesizing and clearly summarizing a wide literature. I like Vielle's questions for combining theory and experiment and staying close to the research edge will providing a clear and precise formulation.

  • For questions and answers with an io-psych and stats bend, consider our most dedicated member -- Jeromy Anglim. His answers tend to be in very slick point-form without any excess, but they do force you to read a lot of external papers.

  • For questions and answers that deal with applied aspects of cognitive science and take a mind-heavy stance, look at Ben Brocka. He has a great way of presenting well thought-out answers in a fashion that is accessible to the lay reader.

  • Look around the users and find others you want to follow. We have many other great users and I unfortunately can't list them all here. For more advice try our extremely active chat.

When you read questions and answers, do so actively. The best way to learn is not passive reading, but interaction: vote, comment, and ask follow up questions (or provide alternative answers). If you read a neuroscience paper, check if you understand it by asking a clear related or future-directions questions based on it. Remember, you can even ask and answer your own questions, so that can be a good way to actively learn as well.

Welcome to our community, we are glad to have you. Good luck with your learning!


Welcome to the site and to the field. I applaud your initiative in this regard. Not to be pedantic about your terminology (I will only do so because it will help you get better search terms for Google), but neurology itself is more of a medical specialty that deals directly with diseases and disorders. Neuroscience is a more general term.

That being said, our site has been designated Cognitive Science(s), as it covers Cognitive Science, Neuroscience/Neurobiology, and Psychology, all of which attempt to attack the problem of studying thinking, behavior, etc. at various levels of abstraction and with differing underlying philosophies (rather than biasing you in any way towards any of those in particular, I'll let you read about each of them and you can make your own evaluations and judgments). This flood of information is not meant to overwhelm you, but to entice you to the possibility that addressing any one of the categories within these fields can be as accessible as an afternoon of reading, but could provide you with a lifetime of scientific pursuit.

Once you've read about what the fields entail, rather than trying to learn exclusively from the site, grab a textbook from the library and see what catches your eye. Look for questions about that topic on the site. If there aren't any, ask some! That way, it's an important tool in your arsenal, but not your only resource.

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