We have two questions about optical illusions:

It has been suggested that they be migrated to Cognitive Sciences. I can see the reasoning behind that, but I'd like to collect a bit more feedback on whether we should migrate this kind of question or keep them here.

  • $\begingroup$ If we are going to open the discussion about these two, I have a list of others that I think are potentially better suited to CogSci listed in this Meta.CogSci post. $\endgroup$
    – jonsca
    Commented Jul 28, 2012 at 12:37
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ you answered a similar question. Why migrating Q&A that are highly voted and well-answered here and also linked to eye-physiology/anatomy. Optical illusions are surely not only a research topic in psychology and not explainable without biophyiscs and anatomy of the eye-brain-system. Besides, this site needs more question for itself to graduate. $\endgroup$ Commented Jul 28, 2012 at 23:28
  • $\begingroup$ I think the two specific questions mentioned, are a better fit on CogSci.SE. However, there are some clearly neurobiological 'illusion' questions that would be good on either bio.SE or CogSci.SE (off the top of my head: "where is the blind-spot in the retina?") $\endgroup$ Commented Jul 30, 2012 at 18:18

1 Answer 1


I think this can be a tough line to draw, as we've concluded in the other Meta posts on both Meta.Biology and Meta.CogSci.

In terms of these specific example questions, my sense is that optical illusions are considered to be the result of a "perceptual" process. While perception could be studied in a (perhaps intractable, thank you commenter) biological framework, it has been studied at length in a top-down, abstracted form by cognitive scientists.

I think that the existing disciplinary experience for these perceptual questions lies on that side of the ocean, so to speak. This by no means would preclude an answer on the other site using the framework of systems physiology, as neurobiology as a whole is still on topic on CogSci, but leaving it here would prevent the introduction of a purely cognitive answer.


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