We live on the cusp of a mass media revolution in which technology changes more frequently than the seasons. Most of this technology is aimed at a consumer market that demands more information. With the swipe of a finger you can instantly have the knowledge of a culinary master while getting the skinny on your friend’s latest Facebook gossip. There is an application for practically every occasion or task, but scientist have evidence to show that this excess of information may in fact make us less apt to make adequate decisions.
In her Newsweek article “I Can’t Think!” Sharon Begley goes into tremendous detail about how too much information may hinder our decision making abilities. Essentially, our brain has a region dedicated to both decision making and emotion management called the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex, when we are saturated with information in a decision making situation this region essentially blows a fuse sending us into a kind of frenzy which may either shut down our decision making, or lead us to a hastened clumsy decision. The excess of information may also result in sense of regret for the choices we make when our brain’s balance is restored.
This could be critical data for mass media pioneers if they seek to be effective with their products. We are offered cable packages with over three hundred channels and surf endlessly between a select few never quite committing to one program, we freeze at a new restaurant with a lengthy menu, and our NetFlix queue is full of partially watched films. We demand so much more access to information and media that they become obsolete by the minute, when we find something new to consume. It stops us from truly focusing , truly committing, and ultimately , once the smoke clears, to a regretful void for the choices we reject.