Graduation Year

Spring 2014

Document Type

Campus Only Senior Thesis


Computer Science

Second Department

Linguistics and Cognitive Science

Reader 1

Deborah Burke

Reader 2

Tzu-Yi Chen

Reader 3

Stacey Wood

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Rights Information

© 2014 Szeyin Lee


The first part of the thesis focuses on Information Foraging Theory which was developed by Peter Pirolli, a cognitive scientist from Intelligent Systems Lab at Palo Alto Research Center, to understand how human search in an information environment (Pirolli 1995). The theory builds upon the optimal foraging theory in behavioral ecology, which assumes that people adapt and optimize their information seeking behavior to maximize the success of accomplishing the task goals by selectively choosing paths based on the expected utility from the information cues. The expected utility in Information Foraging Theory is called Information Scent.

The second part is to design and build a new way to visualize search engine results in a graphical way that incorporates the concept of information scent to make search experience more efficient for users. The end result of the project will be an improved visualization of search results, obtained by using Google’s Application programming interface (API), latent semantic analysis, and data visualization methods to present a semantics-based visualization of the search results. The proposed design is developed to increase information scent for relevant results and shorten the foraging path to reach the search goal by presenting users with fewer but more valuable proximal cues, thus making search a more human-centered experience.

This thesis is restricted to the Claremont Colleges current faculty, students, and staff.