Consider this scenario: You are making dinner. You reach into a crowded kitchen drawer to find a paring knife. As you peel potatoes, you glance over at the basketball game on television to check out your team's performance. When your cell phone buzzes with a text message, you dry your hands and reply, picking out the letters one by one on the screen. These three actions—finding a knife, a moving basketball and letters of the alphabet—seem distinct, but all are examples of what is known in cognitive psychology as visual search—the ability to locate specific items in a crowded scene.