Why the search intent is more complex to classify

In the search marketing field, our perception and understanding of search intent is solely focused on the action element and is not broken down based on verticals. The philosopher Donald Davidson maintains that intention is irreducible to action. That is, not all intentions can be determined by action. And those reasons explain actions as much as they are the causes of these actions. In a similar vein, intentions can also lead to several actions and outcomes. ’ To infer intent, we often walk backwards from the action to the possible or plausible intentions.   Han and Perrreira mentioned that intention has not received sufficient research and also stated that it is part of the theory of action and more specifically the rational choice theory. Decision theory is believed to be part of the rational choice theory and research focus has been largely on actions, strategies preferences and outcomes. There needs to be more work carried out on intentions and how they can be better understood in the search industry. This would unravel a massive amount of insights that will guide businesses in better understanding of their customers, products and market. 

Intention in the wide context:

Intention can be viewed from an inferential framework where one would have to reason to ascribe why certain actions have taken place. To effectively do perform this analysis, the wonder content needs to be taken into consideration. Cues and states from the immediate context will aid a better understanding of the action and its possible intentions.  This is why I believe that intentions can be better defined or analysed within the framework of decision theory. And to be more specific, causal decision theory. 

Causal element of intentions: 

There have been causal explanations for intentions across a variety of researchers and fields of study. Some philosophers have also argued that intentions and intentionality are both present when actions cause outcome and this further is in line with the goals. The causal self-reference of intention simply means that intentions do cause the actions they represent. In addition, cognitive psychologists view intentions as a causal antecedent of actions. It builds a causal case for understanding and acknowledging intentions. 

Intentions and belief:

Intentions have been explained to be a product of desire and belief. To be more precise, as an output of reasoning. What is belief? Beliefs are assumptions of how the wo;d works and represent the informational state of the agent. Beliefs are different from knowledge because they are not fact or may not always be true and are often updated when new evidence is revealed through a process called belief revision. Social psychologists argue that intention requires a belief concept and an agent’s beliefs determine and constrain actions. There could also be a causal element to beliefs It is also common to suppose that beliefs play a causal role in the manifestation of behaviour. .

Intention and causal decision theory 

Decision theory is generally conceived as the reasoning process that pertains to the choices of an agent. While causal decision theory embodies the principle of rational choice and is focused on the consequences or outcomes of an agent’s action. In a nutshell, it establishes that causality plays a significant role in decision making among possible actions.

Search intent should not only focus on what a user is interested in but also the possible reasons and motivations behind the search. It is more or less the ‘why’ behind a search. In the subsequent blogs we will be exploring several search terms in different verticals and apply causal techniques to detect the possible intentions and decisions around the search. I believe search can be considered as a decision problem. 

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