Following up on previous questions, should we change the site title to Mind?

Jeromy Anglim proposed some criteria for a good site title, which I think we ought to adopt for this question.

  1. Short
  2. Accurate in communicating scope
  3. Unique

The first question to consider, then, is "Should we change the site title at all?" Based on these criteria, the answer seems to be yes. First, "Cognitive Sciences" is not short (neither is it particularly long, but that is not the criterion). Second, "Cognitive Sciences" does not accurately communicate the scope of the site, which also includes non-cognitive approaches to studying the mind, such as ecological psychology and possibly psychodynamics, and other non-representational approaches to the study of mind. The current title therefore only fully satisfies one of these criteria for a good site title.

NOTE: To prevent this from becoming a discussion with no possibility of a definite answer, you may simply downvote this post if you disagree with the proposed criteria or my conclusion that based on these criteria, we ought to change the site name.

I will give my own analysis of whether we ought to change the name to Mind based on these criteria in an answer.

3 Answers 3


There is already a Mind SE doing well in proposal, which is similar to this one in scope, but of a lower quality threshold.

This one is much more academic in scope, and requires a more academic sounding title to differentiate it. I think Cognitive Science and Psychology is just fine.

  • Ah, bollocks. I don't think Cognitive Science and Psychology is a good title by these criteria, and Mind and Behavior is probably not unique enough. Maybe best just leave it as it is, after all. Mar 29, 2013 at 9:00
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    Update: this was renamed to Mental Fitness, and that beta has since been closed.
    – Steven Jeuris Mod
    Jul 24, 2016 at 22:37

Thanks for getting this thread started. I agree with your analysis of "cognitive sciences". I think there have been a few discussions of titles like "Mind". The benefit of such names is their generality.

The challenge I see is that names like "mind" don't directly align with existing discipline terms like "cognitive science", "psychology", "neurosciences", etc. Thus, it might be slightly more difficult to show connection to users.

With regards to "mind" specifically, I think the term "mind" has associations more with the phenomena of consciousness (i.e., thoughts, beliefs, attitudes, etc.) as opposed to the neurological basis, or behavioural aspects of interest to psychology and related fields.

  • Oh, that's a good point. Mind might discourage some neuro-oriented researchers the way our current name does some psychologists. Okay, that means we're definitely in "X and Y" (and possibly Z) territory. I still think it should satisfy the criteria, and that a title which satisfies all three criteria does not mention or imply any specific field. "Mind and Behavior" and "Mind and Brain" seem to be the viable candidates, then. Mar 30, 2013 at 8:46

Previously proposed options have fallen along the lines of Brain and Behavior, Mind and Brain, Psychology and Neuroscience, etc. Although these options have some immediate appeal, specifically mentioning any field or unit of analysis is almost guaranteed to fall short of the Accurate Scope criterion by according special status to certain (sub)fields. For instance, researchers who do not adopt the view that mind is equal to behavior will likely be put off by Brain and Behavior, while Psychology and Neuroscience appeals to basic researchers, but excludes others (notably psychiatry). Thus, I posit that a title which satisfies all three criteria does not mention or imply any specific field.

This leaves, in my mind, only three viable options: Mind and Brain, Mind and Behavior, or simply Mind. However, I would argue that an explicit inclusion of Brain in our site title is tantamount to an explicit inclusion of Neuroscience, and that it thus does not fully satisfy the Accurate Scope criterion. It also seems that not all of the brain actually falls within the scope of our site: for instance, I would not think that neuroimmunology falls within the scope beyond the extent it applies to mind and behavior. Mind and Behavior is accurately scoped and unique, but it is not very short, and further, the and Behavior strikes me as redundant.

By exclusion, this leaves Mind as the only viable site title: it is short, accurate and unique, and it is furthermore the only title which satisfies all three of these criteria, and does so impressively well. In my view, Mind fully captures the scope of our site and effectively excludes potential false positives, and should therefore be adopted post-haste.

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    I think that Mind is not a technical enough term. If we choose a name that is too basic I fear we'll frighten off experts. OTOH we also want to include everybody, and our current name doesn't do that terribly well.
    – Josh
    Mar 29, 2013 at 13:20
  • @JoshGitlin I can't imagine any real cogsci researcher seeing a link to mind.stackexchange.com and thinking "That's probably not for me." I can imagine e.g. some psychologists seeing cogsci.stackexchange.com and thinking exactly that. That said, Muz noted there already is a proposed Mind community, so it's fairly moot. Mar 29, 2013 at 14:05

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