The [pending] site's name [change] has been on my mind for quite a while. I may be off here, but my preference now (I voted for Mind & Brain earlier in some lost meta post) is:


Before backgrounding this, I wish to emphasize CogSci is not so bad and the 'Sciences' addition stresses the scientific nature of this site. Further, at Bio CogSci.SE is a well established stack and people know this site (I'm a mod there and kind of a gate keeper in migratory actions and so forth, but that aside) -

I know Psychology was a merger and perhaps we cannot go back, but the good thing about this name is the following:

  • Psychology according to wikipedia is

    [T]he science of behavior and mind, embracing all aspects of conscious and unconscious experience as well as thought. It is an academic discipline and a social science which seeks to understand individuals and groups by establishing general principles and researching specific cases.

    Is this not totally what we are after here? It does kind of exclude the basic neuroscience, but every Psych student knows it is a core component of Psychology and it lies at the basis of the mind, right? It's kind of obvious.

  • Psychology has the '-logy' suffix, meaning 'the study of [the psyche]'. It also emphasizes the scientificness of this stack, as opposed to a source to post self-help (psychiatric) issues.
  • Psychology is the formal name of the corresponding Master's study, at least in Holland, just like Biology is (e.g. here). We do wish to attract University undergrads so it would be a more visible and recognizable name. Afaik, there is no such thing as a CogSci study.
  • Psychology is the formal category in Thomson Reuter's journal indexing within the Social & Behavioral Sciences. For example, there is no such thing as a CogSci category (or a Mind & Brain category etc).
  • I see quite a lot of reference to the APA by other users when it comes down to referencing and so forth. The P is from Psychology, is it not?
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    FYI: Psychology and Neuroscience was by far the top voted name so far (for the site as it is), but was not allowed because of the 'and' construct by 'upper management'. We could still opt for 'psychology' as a shortened name (for URL purposes), and have Psychology and Neuroscience as the full name. But then again, you have to keep in mind there are people that are pushing for a narrower focus than this ... site name and new focus for the site are (should be) very much related.
    – Steven Jeuris Mod
    May 5, 2017 at 8:39
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    Hence the suggestion to make proposals more complete by addressing both site name and scope. ;p It would make sense you add a full proposal (site name + scope) there, since this is what we intended to lure people to as part of deciding on a new course for CogSci. There you will also see @Robin suggested 'psych.stackexchange' as well.
    – Steven Jeuris Mod
    May 5, 2017 at 8:42
  • Do we have a timeline or a set of conditions for when these decisions get made? I feel like we keep discussing them, but then nothing happens.
    – Seanny123
    May 8, 2017 at 1:38
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    I'm also in favour of "Psychological Science" over just "Psychology", but more importantly I want the name changed. Consequently, if the votes fall against my desired result, I am willing to compromise.
    – Seanny123
    May 8, 2017 at 4:50
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    @Seanny123 Robin initiated a post to decide on dates: cogsci.meta.stackexchange.com/q/2195/21
    – Steven Jeuris Mod
    May 8, 2017 at 13:43
  • @StevenJeuris, Are more people aware of that date? May 10, 2017 at 7:05

4 Answers 4


I really like this idea.

  • "psychology" is better than "psychological sciences": Psychology is very much an established discipline. This aligns the site name with other sites like Physics, Chemistry, Biology, Mathematics, Economics Stack Exchange, etc. I.e., the discipline is called psychology, and not "psychological sciences". I think we could make clear in other ways that this site is for scientific questions. And we already close the ample self-help questions that we get.

  • "Cognitive Sciences" is not actually a term used to describe a discipline. "Cognitive Science" is the term (i.e. not plural).

  • "Cognitive Science" is a cross-disciplinary field. It is a much smaller field than "psychology". It is also in some senses, less clearly defined. For example, it includes psychology, artificial intelligence, philosophy and so on. But many of these are already separate sites on stack exchange. Thus, I think calling the site "Psychology" would be more orthogonal to these other disciplines that have their own sites.

  • "Psychology" is bigger in size than "cognitive science". There are more university departments concerned with psychology, there are more academics who identify with psychology, there are more conferences in psychology, there are more students who study psychology. Thus, by branding the site "Psychology", this would encourage a larger user base, because it would transparently align with this existing discipline.

  • "Psychology" is an inclusive term. So every question on the site currently would remain appropriate. Psychology is concerned with the brain, so neurobiology questions would remain on topic.

  • "Cognitive" implies a narrower focus that does not reflect the breadth of the site. Psychology often distinguishes between major subfields such as cognitive psychology, social psychology, individual differences, applied psychology,and so on. There is also a distinction between cognition, affect, and behaviour. The point is that psychology does a better job of reflecting the inclusive nature of the site.

  • Psychology is a good description of the 4,477 existing questions on the site. The dominant tags are "cognitive psychlogy", "social psychology" "neurobiology", "perception", "cognitive neuroscience", "emotion", "learning", "memory", "personality, "abmnormal psychology", then a bunch of methodology. Basically, it looks very much like a psychology curriculum, or a summary of academic staff research interests in a psychology department. It really is a site about "psychology".

Other implications

A suggested mapped url would be:


The blurb barely needs changing:


Cognitive Sciences Psychology Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for practitioners, researchers, and students in cognitive science, psychology, neuroscience, and psychiatry. Join them; it only takes a minute:

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    Although I am not entirely sure about the difference between Psychology vs Psychological Sciences (see this question ), for the rest I completely support this proposal. May 5, 2017 at 5:43
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    Thanks for making the argument so much stronger. Cheers.
    – AliceD Mod
    May 5, 2017 at 6:36
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    @AliceD Thanks for bringing up this topic again. I guess the key at this point is to see what other people think of the proposal. I've applied the "featured" tag to give it greater visibility on the main site. May 5, 2017 at 11:07
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    Thanks Jeromy. It has been bugging me for so long and yesterday it finally dawned on me why CogSci and the other proposals are off - they are unconventional names. As you say in your answer so nicely - Psychology is a huge discipline. By keeping it simple and conventional and name our site likewise it should really be a step forward, at least imho.
    – AliceD Mod
    May 5, 2017 at 11:18
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    I see a recursive definition problem in "Psychology SE is about psychology". What about listing the major topics of psychological research? Either focusing content, as "emotion, cognition, motivation" or focusing the approach to it, as "general, differential, developmental, applied etc." -- kind regards
    – user14074
    Jun 2, 2017 at 0:07
  • I would argue that cognitive science is a boarder term, including psychology, but not vice versa, vide: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cognitive_science. Moreover, psychology may attract even more people for self-help questions (there is folk psychology, but not - folk cognitive science ;)). At the same time, a pivot may be needed... Jul 12, 2017 at 15:10

I'm in favor of Psychological Science instead of Psychology as suggested here.

APA's flagship journal is called Psychological Science. There are journals with Psychology in its title, like Psychology Today. If I post a question here I would prefer an answer that reflects the contents of Psychological Science rather than Psychology Today.

Psychological Science has all the benefits of Psychology: it has P, it has logos, it is inclusive, it describes the current site content well (IMHO better than psychology), and it can be associated with the psych url.

Psychology will draw lot of self-help questions and mental health consultation requests. Such questions will inevitably appear on the front page and may in turn discourage experts from participation. In this respect Psychological Science is a better choice. Cognitive Science perhaps even better.

Regarding the arguments against Cognitive Science

Many prominent institutions give degrees in Cognitive Science (MIT,Stanford) and have CogSci departments. Uni Osnabrück in Germany is a less prominent but European example.

Biology, Chemistry or Physics are much older and had more time (and success) to distance themselves from their pseudo-scientific siblings such as alchemy or astrology. I'm afraid empirical psychological science hasn't been so successful yet at claiming the label Psychology. While adapting Psychology for this site may look like a noble support of psychsci's claim, I think it would not benefit the site, and hardly benefit the field. IMO, the optimal solution would be to use Psychological Science now and perhaps adapt Psychology once the site has grown strong.

Drawbacks of Cognitive science

Beside being a less popular name, I see Cognitive Science as less inclusive in certain respect. CogSci gained historically its popularity in Anglophone academic world and other researchers, say from continental Europe may feel excluded. CogSci is historically associated with certain philosophy (information-processing metaphor) and researchers who study human behavior but do not subscribe to this philosophy (e.g. Behaviorists or Gibsonians) may feel excluded.

So I prefer Psychological Science, perhaps with Psychology as an option for the future.

  • I broadly agree with all your points. I think Psychology or Psychological Science gets closer to the content of the site. I like both those names. I agree with the concern about promoting the scientific focus of the site, and discouraging the self-help type questions. However, I also like the simplicity of "Psychology". i.e., That is the name of the scientific field. I.e., it is the canonical discipline name. May 8, 2017 at 1:09
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    @JeromyAnglim Ooker made a similar point about Health: From what I knew during the early stage of Health, 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. [...]. Simplicity might work, thus. May 8, 2017 at 10:09
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    I think both "Psychology" and "Psychological Science" or "Psychological Sciences" are an improvement on the current name. If there was sufficient consensus that either would be preferable, perhaps they could be presented as two options to the higher ups. May 8, 2017 at 11:46

What about CogΨ (CogPsi)? -- Cognitive Science and Psychology (psi being an standard abbreviation of psych)


I have to disagree. Thanks to this site, I fell in love with cognitive science but I don't really like psychology. Cognitive science asks the question that are possible to scientifically test and its goal isn't to find the solutions of our problems but to understand the human mind in its complexity. I think this kind of questions are much more approprate to the SE question-answer format.

But what is more important, cognitive science isn't just some kind of a vague intersection of philosophy, psychology, anthroopology and neuroscience, these days, it is a fairly established science with clear question regarding our mental algorithms and factors in our deciding.

I understood that "cognitive sciences" was chosen as a name for this site to express the multidisciplinarity. But I agree renaming it to cognitive science could help avoid much of the confusion.


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