Information Overload: Too much of a good thing?

In our increasingly technology-driven society, we receive information at unbelievable speeds without even realizing it. In any given hour, the average person receives texts, emails, phone calls, and communication through social media sites. One would think that this increased amount of information would lead to increased productivity and better decision-making, but recent studies are beginning to show otherwise. These studies have revealed that the part of our brain that handles decision making, the dorsal-lateral prefrontal cortex, is able to handle information up until a certain volume. After surpassing this maximum capacity, it begins to fail at processing information accurately, and we in turn begin to make worse decisions. Additionally, this frustrates us, which only adds to our inability to make decent decisions.

I for one have witnessed this recently. As a video editor, I constantly have to invest in new hardware to manage my videos. Over the past month, I’ve been attempting to decide which computer to buy to replace my current outdated one, and the amount of information on the Internet, most of which contradicts the rest, is ridiculous. Making a decision on my own became impossible, and I ended up referring to an actual computer technician and went with his this decision. Another time I encountered this phenomena occurred when I bought my new car back in August. I searched online forums, asked friends, and spoke to sales representatives to find the best car for my budget. I got plenty of different answers, and I almost bought a car that would not have served me well. Luckily, a family member knew a car enthusiast who ended up helping me out.

In summary, we often view increased communication as an advantage in our daily lives and decision-making, but this may not be the case at all. It may be wise for us all to deal with our communication at intervals throughout our day, as opposed to constantly, in order to avoid the negative effects of information overload.

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