Searching for Fundamentals and Commonalities of Search

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3 Author(s)

This chapter reports the discussion of a group of mostly behavioral biologists, who attempt to put research on search from their own discipline into a framework that might help identify parallels with cognitive search. Essential components of search are a functional goal, uncertainty about goal location, the adaptive varying of position, and often a stopping rule. The chapter considers a diversity of cases where search is in domains other than spatial and lists other important dimensions in which search problems differ. One dimension examined in detail is social interactions between searchers and searchers, targets and targets, and targets and searchers. The producer-scrounger game is presented as an example; despite the extensive empirical and theoretical work on the equilibrium between the strategies, it is largely an open problem how animals decide when to adopt each strategy, and thus how real equilibria are attained. Another dimension that explains some of the diversity of search behavior is the modality of the information utilized (e.g., visual, auditory, olfactory). The chapter concludes by highlighting further parallels between search in the external environment and cognitive search. These suggest some novel avenues of research.