Sharon Begley’s article I Can’t Think! addresses an issue that, I feel, has become a universal problem. That problem is information overload. Ones brain shutting down as a result of being inundated with too many things at once. While not everyone experiences this, for me it is a topic close to home.
Now, while I am no doctor or scientist and I do not know much about the functions of the brain, what I do know is that I feel the same overwhelming stress whenever I try to make too many decisions at once. It is almost though ours brain gives up when given too much information. We are trying to process so many things at one moment and not only that, but also make the right decision. Almost every decision I have to make is one that requires multiple categories of consideration.
A perfect example relative to this article is choosing a flight. I know when I log on to expedia.com I mentally prepare myself. Okay, what flight departs at the best time, has the shortest lay over, is the right price and a good airline that won’t kill me. I search and search and after what seems like hours my brain finally shuts down. After all my hard work and careful attention to details, I wind up either x’ing out or making a horrible choice. I feel this is a result of having too many options.
As Dimoka explains in her study, “But as the researchers gave the bidders more and more information, activity in the dorsolateral PFC suddenly fell off, as if a circuit breaker had popped.” For many they experience this during test taking. Whatever it may be, the bottom line is too much information and too many options often lead to too many wrong choices.