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During discussions about a possible merger with the Neuroinformatics proposal see this Meta.cogsci question, on the related discuss.area51 post a comment was made about whether the name of the site is inclusive enough. (More on evidence of name confusion)

While I have always "gotten" that Cognitive Sciences is a great umbrella, I had previously wondered if it was faithful to all facets of the Psychology proposal that was subsumed during the Commitment phase. With the recent Area 51 discussion, it made me wonder if in a casual search, a web searchers and seekers would consider checking if neuro questions were on topic at a site called Cognitive Sciences, or would they pass us by. The same question could be asked about, e.g., social psychologists or related fields.

I have faith that researchers in any of our related fields would be diligent, but given our often "quick" searches for information, time may be a factor, and potential users might move on before having given us a chance.

Where does this leave us? I don't know. Maybe we are fine where we are, but I would hope we could consider a few alternatives. I don't have any concrete suggestions that I would fight for, but perhaps something like "Brain and Behavior" might fill in more corners of the the topic space.

Discussions on alternative names

What do people think of "Cognitive Science and Psychology" as a site title?

"Mind and Brain (Sciences)" as a site title

  • (Thanks to Ben for suggesting that this be a Meta question) – Chuck Sherrington Apr 29 '12 at 9:19
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    (Also, we can call it "Brain and Behavio(u)r" if you want ;) ) – Chuck Sherrington Apr 29 '12 at 9:20
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    Darn, you beat me to this question. I was going to use the more Shakespearean "What's in a name?" title. I think this is an important discussion to be had. – Artem Kaznatcheev Apr 29 '12 at 15:45
  • Not sure anything is going to be more inclusive than Cog Sci with an s, Brain and Behavior sorta works but it's also in use though it's maybe too generic to be trademarked/confused – Ben Brocka Apr 29 '12 at 15:45
  • Also, as was mentioned in chat (and I thought in the back of my head), brain and behavior sort of seems to exclude Cognition...which has been the main focus of questions on this site, and is often much more popular in casual readers. People should be reading the site every day, and I think cognition stuff is a great way to encourage them to do so as it relates to everyone, not just neuroscientists and researchers. – Ben Brocka Apr 29 '12 at 15:57
  • @BenBrocka I fail to see how "brain" excludes cognition, but I accept your position – Chuck Sherrington Apr 29 '12 at 23:12
  • @ChuckSherrington B&B happens to be a common title of low-level Psychology courses focusing on the biological and neuroscience related aspects rather than high level cognition. It just sort of evokes a low-level empirical feel. I'm not especially opposed to it either, just pointing it out – Ben Brocka Apr 30 '12 at 0:51
  • @BenBrocka I wasn't married to the name, hehe. I just always find it intriguing that people want to separate the cognition from the underlying biology, but I think that argument predates the site. – Chuck Sherrington Apr 30 '12 at 0:55
  • I rather don't...but apparently many do. – Ben Brocka Apr 30 '12 at 3:46
  • For some context on this whole name thing, see this thread on DBA where they're struggling with a very similar naming issue (albeit in a very different domain) – Ben Brocka Apr 30 '12 at 14:02
  • I agree with @BenBrocka "Brain and Behavior" is too reductionist and excludes cognition in the same way that "Cognitive Sciences" was not very welcoming to non-cognition. However, "Brain and Behavior" has a nice ring to it. – Artem Kaznatcheev May 2 '12 at 5:56
  • @ArtemKaznatcheev How about Jeromy's "Mind, Brain, and Behavior" then? – Chuck Sherrington May 2 '12 at 6:07
  • @ChuckSherrington I commented on his answer, that I think it is too chunky. I would just go for Mind and Brain. Will make a meta suggestion. – Artem Kaznatcheev May 2 '12 at 6:08
  • @ChuckSherrington okay, here is the formal suggestion – Artem Kaznatcheev May 2 '12 at 6:17
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    @StevenJeuris It will be during my work day, but I will be there in spirit! I'm excited for everyone. I haven't had a lot of time over the past couple of years to offer any well-researched answers, but I do pop by from time to time. Hope all is well with everyone! – Chuck Sherrington Jul 11 '17 at 11:35
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Thanks for posting this question. When the site just started I posted a related meta question on how we can present and brand the site so that it is perceived as inclusive to the disciplines that it covers.

Effect of site title "Cognitive Sciences"

I like the "s" at the end of "cognitive science" because it appears to suggest a plurality that reflects our site scope.

That said, I think the current title suggests that the site is about "cognitive science". In some respect the discipline of cognitive science can be seen as subsuming a wide range of other disciplines including psychology (e.g., see the Wikipedia definition as the "scientific study of the mind and its processes". However, if you have ever read a cognitive science journal or attended a cognitive science conference, you will know that the typical interests of such researchers is much narrower than the scope of this site. In particular, the majority of psychology research (i.e., anything not considered cognitive psychology) would typically not fit.

Brainstorming Alternative Titles

In my opinion, a good site title is

  • Short
  • Accurate in communicating scope
  • Unique

The following are a few brainstormed site titles:

  • Cognitive Science and Psychology: This is my favourite, I've posted a separate question explaining why I like it and seeking comments.
  • Brain and Behavior or Mind, Brain, and Behavior: This is inclusive and would readily permit questions about neuroscience, but does not relate as closely to existing canonical disciplinary terms.
  • Psychological Sciences: This probably has the same issue that "Cognitive Sciences" has. It's fine and good, but may reduce implicit associations with some of topics covered in cognitive science.
  • Cognitive and Psychological Sciences: This is similar to "Cognitive Science and Psychology" but clarifies that the site is focussed on psychology as "science" rather than self-help and some other connotations of "psychology" on the Internet. It also retains the plural "sciences" which to me connotes the plurality to which the site aspires.
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    I'm still a proponent of Brain and Behavior. I find it to be the most inclusive one of them all. – Steven Jeuris Apr 30 '12 at 10:53
  • @StevenJeuris I quite like it too. – Jeromy Anglim Apr 30 '12 at 13:13
  • Are there other ways we can emphasize that final S in Cognitive Sciences via the FAQ and copywriting around the site? I love the welcome text idea. – Ben Brocka Apr 30 '12 at 16:45
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    I'm a big fan of "Brain and Behavior" or "Mind, Brain, and Behavior." Probably more the former than the latter. Also perhaps "Brain and Behavioral Science." – Nate May 1 '12 at 14:46
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    I like "Brain and Behavior" but I feel it is too reductionist and might be off-putting to some psychologists, it would be nice to incorporate Mind in there, unfortunately "Mind, Brain, and Behavior" is too clunky... – Artem Kaznatcheev May 2 '12 at 5:54
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    I second the notion that "brain and Behavior" is too reductive. Cognition is the key underlying object of study within the cognitive sciences, and not having a reference to it in our title could only harm our community. – zergylord Jul 14 '12 at 22:12
  • I like everything about this answer, except I'm not in favour of titles that describe the are of study, like "brain and behavior", because what about "brain and emotions" or "cognition and soma" etc.? Of course there are difinitions that include emotions and psychosomatic effects as "internal behavior", but that is not everyday knowledge. – user3116 Sep 11 '13 at 12:12
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Like many other users, I'm constantly coming back to this topic. I think it needs some action, and soon.

I think this question has two parts that we need not confuse:

  1. the URL (cogsci.stackexchange.com)
  2. the headline (Cognitive Sciences)

I feel that the URL must first and foremost be short and memorable, then meaningful, and only after that may it be inclusive of all topics on the site. Personally, I don't much like "cogsci", as it is not a word or abbreviation I am familiar with. If I was unfamiliar with the site, the URL would not mean anything to me. That is bad. Bad, because users often try to infer from the URL whether they should click on it. And bad, because search engines use terms from the URL to construct page rank (if the content, name and URL of the site match, it is more on-topic and therefore relevant, than if only one of these matches the search terms). I would prefer a regular word as the subdomain name. Obvious candidates are:

  • psyche.stackexchange.com
  • mind.stackexchange.com
  • cognition.stackexchange.com
  • psychology.stackexchange.com

All other terms are too long to be useful. My favourite is "psyche", or more modern: "mind", because it is the only term that to me appears to be common to all disciplines.

Due to the specific meaning that "cognitive sciences" has as an academic discipline in my experience, the headline "Cognitive Sciences" excludes psychology from my perspective and would not motivate me to explore the site. A headline "Psychology" would do the same for people with differing interests. But then the headline does not have to be restricted to one term or discipline. There is enough space on the frontpage to have a headline like:

  • Cognitive sciences, psychology and neurosciences
  • Psychology, cognitive and neuro-sciences

Other orderings are possible, and these should not relate to the perceived relative importance, but to what sounds best. This headline should be as inclusive as possible without being excessive, of course. And it should name the disciplines, not give metaphors (grey matter) or areas of study (brain, behavior etc.).

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    I'm not fond of "psyche" as it may pull in more of a new age crowd, but I agree with everything else. Thanks for continuing to push as this rock. – Chuck Sherrington Sep 11 '13 at 12:11
  • Hmm, you're right with that, @ChuckSherrington. – user3116 Sep 11 '13 at 12:19
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After Chuck's comment to my answer I had the thought that maybe we're not equipped to solve this question and should pay a branding agency to come up with a corporate identity.

So I cast my vote that we each donate 50 bucks and pay a good agency to come up with something like:

  • Thinkr
  • Brainbook
  • Dazed & Confused

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