Following on from the previous meta question about the site title and after brainstorming a little bit in this answer, I wanted to have a discussion about the possibility of changing the site title to Cognitive Science and Psychology Stack Exchange.

As I mentioned previously:

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.

I'll post my own thoughts of the pros and cons as an answer.

What do people think about the pros and cons of changing the site title to "Cognitive Science and Psychology Stack Exchange"?

4 Answers 4


There is the eigenfactor map of scientific publishing which is created by a machine learning/statistical clustering of a huge number of publications in the natural and social sciences. The citation clusters turn out to correspond pretty well to popular fields. If you examine the image, you can see that "Cognitive Science" does not show up as a separate field. Although it is a big field, and one I try to participate in, there are simply more people that identify with Psychology or Neuroscience (note that Psychiatry also shows up a separate field on that chart).

Thus, if we are going to use a "techinal-filed-name1 and technical-field-name2" approach, I would prefer something like: Psychology and Neuroscience

This also has the added bonus of not committing us on the brain vs. mind issue. The "Cognitive Science and Psychology" title just screams mind and higher-level way too much. While the other alternative "Brain and Behavior" proposed by @jonsca screams low-level and biology too much. With this alternative, we have "Psychology" which for me captures the essence of "mind" and "Neuroscience" which for me captures the essence of "brain". It is also very agnostic on scope.

  • I think it is important for people to realise straight away when they see a site title or when they arrive on a site that this is a site for them. In particular, for people who self-identify as psychology researchers, cognitive science researchers, or neuroscience researchers, this is important. I quite like "psychology and neuroscience". Commented May 2, 2012 at 6:52

On a personal level, I think "Cognitive Sciences" is just fine. It's a widely used term that is broad enough to cover the types of questions on our site with very few exceptions.

On a pragmatic level, it probably will have an affect on the way newcomers view the site.

stats.SE has the problem that 'machine learning' is not included in the name, despite the fact that the community has repeatedly welcomed and encouraged machine learning questions. This led to an area51 proposal for machine learning, which went to beta, then quickly shuttered (questions were merged into stats). Adding 'Psychology' to the name might help a large constituent feel like this site is right for them, even if we've been accepting of them all along.

On the other hand, there are many people who view the term 'Psychology' negatively. I know many brain imaging folk who would refuse to call themselves psychologists based on the connotation (opting for neuroscientist instead). We might scare off some of those people, while at the same time get a bump in crappy questions about psychoanalysis and other psuedo-scientific 'psychology'.

I think it's a perfectly acceptable title, but I'm still not convinced we need to change the site name.


Critical analysis of "Cognitive Science and Psychology"

If I had my way, I would probably vote to change the site title to: Cognitive Science and Psychology Stack Exchange.

The following are the pros and cons that I can see


  • It is relatively short.
  • It is more inclusive of "non-cognitive" psychology.
  • "Cognitive Science" and "Psychology" reflect the actual disciplinary identification of many active researchers.
  • "Cognitive Science" and "Psychology" are arguably the dominant two terms to describe the domain that our site covers. Thus, people looking for cognitive science or psychology question and answer sites might both find us.
  • It reflects the names of the two main proposals that merged to form this site in the Area 51 process. But I imagine in conversation, people might still refer to it as "Cognitive Science Stack Exchange", and you wouldn't have to change anything in the url prefix "cogsci".
  • It would not require a change to our url prefix. "Cogsci" is the same.
  • People who already know the site as "Cognitive Sciences Stack Exchange" would not be too confused if they saw that the site was now called "Cognitive Science and Psychology Stack Exchange".


  • It's not quite as concise as "Cognitive Sciences".
  • It leaves neuroscience and psychiatry under-represented.
  • Changing site titles should be done with caution.
  • 2
    I think this is a great analysis! I am in favor of this change, the only reason I think we should consider it longer is It leaves neuroscience and psychiatry under-represented
    – Josh
    Commented Apr 30, 2012 at 11:38
  • Thanks Josh. I realise anything to do with changing a site name is a pretty big decision. In general, I think there needs to be a compelling reasons to change, and I'm sure other active users on this site have particular preferences and opinion. Thus, I was keen to gauge general attitudes to this idea, and hopefully others will either like it or come up with some other compelling ideas (even if that meant not changing at all). Commented Apr 30, 2012 at 13:24

When I found this site, I was very unsure this SE was right for me. In a technical sense, I probably do identify as a cognitive scientist, but Psychology and Neuroscience hits much closer for me. It is somewhat long and unwieldy, though, and other answers seem to echo this sentiment, so let me propose this:

Call the site simply Mind. In the end, all cognitive scientists are in the business of studying the mind, no matter how high or low their level of analysis may be, and no matter whether they think mind is or is not equal to brain. Mind is short, simple and inclusive, conveying essentially the same sentiment as Psychology and Neuroscience in just four handy characters.

  • Thanks for getting involved in the site. I'm a similar to you in that I identify more with psychology or perhaps psychological science. The issue of an appropriate site name has been a challenging one. Perhaps the idea of "Mind" as a site name is worthy of it's own meta post where the pros and cons could be discussed. Commented Mar 29, 2013 at 7:38
  • Fair enough. I'll cook up a separate post for it. Commented Mar 29, 2013 at 7:41
  • Turns out there is already a site under development called Mind. I'm not very familiar with how SE works, but that seems like case closed. Commented Mar 29, 2013 at 9:06

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .