EppsNet Archive: Information Overload

Clifford Nass, 1958-2013


One of his most publicized research projects was a 2009 study on multitasking. He and his colleagues presumed that people who frequently juggle computer, phone or television screens, or just different applications, would display some special skill at ignoring irrelevant information, or efficiently switching between tasks, or that they would prove to have a particularly orderly memory. “We all bet high multitaskers were going to be stars at something,” he said in an interview with the PBS program “Frontline” after the paper he and his colleagues wrote, “Cognitive Control in Media Multitaskers,” was published in 2009. “We were absolutely shocked,” he said. “We all lost our bets. It turns out multitaskers are terrible at every aspect of multitasking. They’re terrible at ignoring irrelevant information; they’re terrible at keeping information in their head nicely and neatly organized; and they’re terrible at switching from one task to another.” He added, “One would… Read more →

How Much Information Do You Really Need?


On the web there’s a certain kind of encouragement to never ask yourself how much information you really need. But when I get to the point where I’m seeking advice twelve hours a day on how to take a nap or what kind of notebook to buy, I’m so far off the idea of lifehacks that it’s indistinguishable from where we started. There’s very little advice right now to tell people that the only thing to do is action, and everything else is horseshit. — Merlin Mann Read more →

There is No Such Thing as Information Overload


Looking over my notes from an Edward Tufte course . . . There is no such thing as information overload, just bad design. Example: Google News presents hundreds of links on a single page and no one complains about information overload. Example: The financial section of the newspaper presents thousands of numbers and no one complains about information overload. Read more →