Exploring Spaces to Make the Right Choice: The Cognitive Science of Search


One important question in cognitive science is how humans search for useful resources in the environment. Indeed, understanding the search process is often a critical step for studying how an agent learns, adapts, and behaves in an uncertain environment. More generally, search is required whenever an agent faces a problem and there are uncertainties involved during the process of solving the problem. Given its ubiquity, the search process is found to be central in many cognitive activities, ranging from vision, memory retrieval, problem solving, decision making, web navigation, to social selection. However, research on search has a tendency to fragment into multiple areas. The goal of this symposium is to lead an integrative discussion of the over-arching principles underlying the search process, and highlight how search plays a central role in cognition. To this end, participants in this symposium will present research results that show how humans search in different spaces such as information spaces (Wai-Tat Fu), decision spaces (Thomas Hills), motivational spaces (Art Markman), and social and non-social spaces (Peter Todd).

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