Radiologists perform many ‘visual search tasks’ in which they look for one or more instances of one or more types of target item in a medical image (e.g. cancer screening). To understand and improve how radiologists do such tasks, it must be understood how the human ‘search engine’ works. This article briefly reviews some of the relevant work into this aspect of medical image perception. Questions include how attention and the eyes are guided in radiologic search? How is global (image-wide) information used in search? How might properties of human vision and human cognition lead to errors in radiologic search?