Have you ever researched something so diligently that instead of making a confident decision, you find yourself second-guessing your choice even more? Often times I find myself sitting down at the computer to look at a review for a restaurant or movie and find myself scrolling through hundreds of comments. After wasting twenty minutes or more on the computer I tend to be more confused about where to go or what to see than I was before I started researching. As it turns out, this is a pretty common scenario. Over-researching can cause information overload in our brains and an inability to make a decision. According to Article 5 in Annual Editions 12/13, a researcher Angelika Dimoka, found that as information load increases so does activity in the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex. This is the region of the brain that is responsible for decision-making. As more information was received, the activity in this part of the brain fell off as if “a circuit breaker popped” and the brains emotional region ran wild with frustration and anxiety. She compared this brain activity to toddlers on a sugar high. This led people to make bad choices and silly mistakes.
Information overload also causes us to regret or second-guess decisions we have already made. When we over research, there are always lingering questions after a decision has been made. Would the other job have had better benefits in the long run? Would that car have a better trade-in value? In this age of technology and having the ability to research anything in-depth, we have limited our ability to make good decisions that we are satisfied with. Since creative decisions are more likely to be made from unconscious thought rather than an analytical approach, lets all do our brains a favor and relax. Information overload does nothing but stress us out even more!