Information overload syndrome: a bibliographic review
Introduction. We are living in the time of greatest dissemination of information in the history of the human race, and this excess of information has resulted in considering human attention as a scarce resource. Information overload is the situation in which the amount or intensity of information exceeds the individual’s limited capacity for cognitive processing.
Objective. To describe the concept of information overload, its possible neurocognitive substrates, associated symptoms, causes, measures to avoid it, as well as its possible relationship with the internet and electronic devices.
Development. People respond differently to information overload, and this depends on individual factors as well as on the amount and characteristics of the informative stimulation. Some symptoms of information overload are: inefficient work, confusion, delay in making decisions, lack of critical evaluation of information, loss of control over information, refusal to receive communication, lack of general perspective, greater tolerance for error, anxiety, stress, etc. The limits of information processing capacity are probably conditioned by the limited metabolic energy that is distributed in the brain and remains constant regardless of the difficulty of the tasks.
Conclusion. Attention is a limited cognitive function. In order to reduce the adverse effects of information overload, it is necessary to improve the personal management of our own cognitive resources and to understand their relationship with technology. Likewise, it is necessary to improve the handling of information through the organization, filtering and application of cognitive ergonomics design guidelines.
Key words. Attention. Attention economy. Cognitive ergonomics. Cognitive load. Cognitive neuroscience. Memory.