Over a century ago, William James proposed that people search through memory much as they rummage through a house looking for lost keys. We scour our environments for territory, food, mates, and information. We search for items in visual scenes, for historical facts, and for the best deals on Internet sites; we search for new friends to add to our social networks, and for solutions to novel problems. What we find is always governed by how we search and by the structure of the environment.
This book explores how we search for resources in our minds and in the world. The authors examine the evolution and adaptive functions of search; the neural underpinnings of goal-searching mechanisms across species; psychological models of search in memory, decision making, and visual scenes; and applications of search behavior in highly complex environments such as the Internet. As the range of information, social contacts, and goods continues to expand, how well we are able to search and successfully find what we seek becomes increasingly important. At the same time, search offers cross-disciplinary insights to the scientific study of human cognition and its evolution. Combining perspectives from researchers across numerous domains, this book furthers our understanding of the relationship between search and the human mind.