This is part of the second step into an attempted reboot of this community: Rebooting Cognitive Sciences: a Suggested Approach

This site is now several years in beta, and it is about time we revisit and more concretely define which scientific disciplines are in scope, and how this should be reflected in the site name. The discussion on these issues is summarized in the recent community review:

Scope: Which fields of study can ask questions here? How to deal with overlap with other sites?

Site name: We have noticed our site name might lead to confusion on what this site is, what new name should we use?

The next step now is to collect concrete proposals for a potential different scope and site name, keeping in mind the issues mentioned above. A proposal would do well by including the following:

  1. An exhaustive list of scientific disciplines we want to target explicitly.
  2. A list of scientific disciplines we potentially do not want to consider, including a motivation why.
  3. A suggestion on how to handle overlap with specific other sites.
  4. A suggestion on how to handle questions only tangentially related to the mind, which do not have a home on other sites (given the recent events of the closed neuroscience proposal).
  5. A suggested site name and url prefix, reflecting the earlier described scope, including a motivation.
  • Let me add that, although names with ampersands are discouraged, a common name followed by a name with an ampersand might be allowed. We did not yet try pushing for that yet. E.g., my earlier proposal of Cognition: Psychology and Neuroscience.
    – Steven Jeuris Mod
    Commented Sep 2, 2016 at 11:15
  • The Neurobiology issue has been dealt with quite extensively. There is overlap and there always will be was the basic outcome imo. I can dig up the meta posts if you like. Drawing it away from Biology.SE is imho unthinkable as of now.
    – AliceD Mod
    Commented Sep 7, 2016 at 9:40
  • @Christiaan This is a summary of meta posts I identified. In case you feel this summary leaves out important points which were made over the course of CogSci's existence, you can include missing posts here, and update the summary here.
    – Steven Jeuris Mod
    Commented Sep 7, 2016 at 11:27
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    @StevenJeuris-I've added that meta post. It's a follow up on the previous one by ChuckSherrington/aka Jonsca
    – AliceD Mod
    Commented Sep 7, 2016 at 11:36
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    @Christiaan, thank you for pointing me to that post I missed. I see you reference several questions there, which we could now consider reopening if we have the necessary community to answer them. Maybe these are questions of interest to those coming in from the closed Neuroscience proposal? This way they can easily obtain the necessary rep to participate on Meta.
    – Steven Jeuris Mod
    Commented Sep 7, 2016 at 12:21
  • Can you check with the moderators about whether "Cognition: Psychology and Neuroscience" is even an option they would accept? Are there previous examples of this form of title in any site?
    – Seanny123
    Commented Sep 15, 2016 at 13:52
  • @Seanny123 Have a look at all the sites: "English Language & Usage", "Music: Practice & Theory". I'm fairly certain they are more likely to accept it as an option than solely the "&" without the prefix. We did ask for solely the "&" combination before.
    – Steven Jeuris Mod
    Commented Sep 15, 2016 at 18:53
  • Hey all. Should measurement (survey, etc.) questions be explicitly included in the scope? I'm thinking of more basic things ("does anyone know of a survey about blah blah blah") and more advanced things (e.g., item construction, validation, even IRT). I also wonder if these have different answers. I did some quick searches and didn't see it mentioned anywhere... Thoughts?
    – mflo-ByeSE
    Commented Jun 7, 2017 at 20:18

2 Answers 2



Before starting to list all the bullet points, I want to stress the importance of the word science. That is the beauty of the current site name; it is immediately clear we want to discuss science. Although I actually enjoy the current name, I will suggest a new one at bullet point 5. So, here goes:

The proposal

    1. Neuro-, social-, industry/organizational-, sports-, developmental, behavioral- psychology. The science behind human-factors/HCI, psychiatry, human movements, sociology, linguistics.
    2. Beside theories and facts, conducting scientific research is also incredibly important. Therefore, methodological questions are also on topic. These methods should be somewhat related to behavior or the brain, including behavioral experimental paradigms and neuroscientific methods.
    1. Pseudoscience (let's consider this a science for the moment). The reason is clear.
    2. Topics described in bullet point 1 that are not related to science (e.g. usability issues, parenting tips, psychiatric tips or diagnosis). These are generally self-help questions, opinion based, or clearly belong on another SE-site (e.g. ux, parenting and health, respectively).
    3. Everything other that is not related to behavior or the brain (e.g. physics, philosophy, English language, world building, etc. etc.).
    1. Biology: Everything that is not related to the brain or behavior should be considered off-topic. This includes (but is not limited to) ecology, genetics, non-animal biology, etc.. All things close to the brain, (networks of) neurons, muscles, sensory systems are on-topic.
    2. Cross Validated: There are only few statistical methods that are specific for behavioral sciences, and many should thus be migrated, even if they are posed within a behavioral scientific context. Only if the questions are relevant for our site and are conceptual of nature (i.e. not about mathematics or "how- do you calculate") we should welcome them.
    3. Stack Overflow: I believe there is little overlap here. If they post a line of code in which we must find the incorrect use of a for-loop, then definitely off-topic here. If the question is conceptual and about behavioral sciences (e.g. fieldTrip/EegLAB function) then it will be off-topic at Stack Overflow, and should be on-topic here.
  1. Each new 'tangentially' related topic should be discussed in a meta post, as is happening now. We cannot decide beforehand what we would accept or not, and we must need acceptance of the current user base. If we see a new Area51 proposal or a trend in new questions that are asked here, we can start the discussion.

  2. The new name would become Psychological Sciences. I believe it is incredibly important to keep the word science in the name, to clearly show we are about science and not pseudoscience or self-help questions. Psychological, as opposed to Cognitive, should invite more users to come here and will make it easier to find the website. As discussed here as well: (Why is this stack exchange called 'Cognitive Sciences'?), people do not likely search for Cognitive. The url-prefix will become pscience.stackexchange.com. I thought it is a nice play of words and not a cumbersome abbreviation. Alternatively, I would also accept psych.stackexchange.com.

I do want to express my fear that using the name Psychological Sciences will likely attract many laymen that ask off-topic, self-help and opinionated questions. Psychology is (or sounds) more accessible than Cognition, since the term is better known. If we choose for Psychological Sciences, we have to stay vigilant and close each of these questions without mercy.

  • I tried to make exhaustive lists of what is on-topic and off-topic, but this was incredibly difficult to me. You cannot name one topic without discussing every other topic (which would make unnecessarily large lists). I hope thus that the proposal is clear. If you need any clarification please say so. Commented Sep 4, 2016 at 13:32
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    Thank you for a very elaborate description. I'm all +1 on this, except 'psyence' (psych is much better.), and the site name might warrant more discussion, but it is a proposal I did not encounter yet, and I find it intriguing. Would like to hear some counter-arguments against it. I suppose the main one being that it seems only psychology is on-topic.
    – Steven Jeuris Mod
    Commented Sep 4, 2016 at 14:58
  • I unabashedly love this proposal for reasons I will elaborate on soon. Either URL seems good to me.
    – Seanny123
    Commented Sep 15, 2016 at 13:24
  • +1 for everything except "Psychological sciences". This pushes the flavour of the title further away from neuroscience; experimental neuroscience questions should remain on-topic here. Commented Apr 20, 2017 at 12:39
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    From what I knew during the early stage of Medical Sciences, they fear not slightly misleading site name. My idea was that the site name Medical would attract more academic-level questions than Health, but their stance is that as long as the core members still actively filtering low quality posts, everything still be OK. After a while of inactivity, I see many front-page questions do have this level. That being said, most of them are still lacking adequate research, but that's another story.
    – Ooker
    Commented Apr 23, 2017 at 16:13

I suggest we make a Venn diagram of all the related disciplines, choose one or two biggest circles that cover most areas that we want, then name the site according to that. It will be intuitive, and I think it will clear all the debates. If there is any question about the scope on the site in the future, we just need to re-consider the field again.

For example, this is a discipline diagram for UX:


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