Limit How Much Information You Have to Process to Avoid “Mental Fog”
There’s no denying that the information age has been beneficial, making it easy to learn about nearly any topic quickly. However, that information overload comes at a cognitive cost. If you force yourself to process to much information, you can slip into what’s known as a “mental fog.”
As knowledge and news site Big Think explains, as helpful as the flood of information we have can be at times, we just haven’t evolved to handle it yet. Our minds are designed to process one very simple train of thought at a time. In fact, most of the time we think we’re “multitasking”, we’re really just rapidly switching from one task to another. Even if we’re not on our phones constantly, we’re still flooded with information at the store, on the road, and at work compared to how much information needed to be processed fifty years ago. This overload leads to a cognitive slowdown called mental fog. And it can hurt us in the long run:
Put simply, the more information you have to handle, the less time you have to give it the thought it deserves. If you start to feel you’re entering a mental fog—and you’ll notice if you start making poorer decisions, respond more emotionally than rationally, or make frequent errors—slow down and try to limit how much information you have to process. Drop a task or two, or simply take a break from the screens.
From Demagogues to Mental Fog - the Side Effects of the Information Age| Big Think