Information overload (also known as infobesity or infoxication) refers to the difficulty a person can have understanding an issue and making decisions that can be caused by the presence of too much information.
The term is popularized by Alvin Toffler in his bestselling 1970 book Future Shock, but is mentioned in a 1964 book by Bertram Gross, The Managing of Organizations. Speier et al. (1999) stated: Information overload occurs when the amount of input to a system exceeds its processing capacity. Decision makers have fairly limited cognitive processing capacity. Consequently, when information overload occurs, it is likely that a reduction in decision quality will occur.
In recent years, the term "information overload" has evolved into phrases such as "information glut" and "data smog" (Shenk, 1997). What was once a term grounded in cognitive psychology has evolved into a rich metaphor used outside the world of academia. In many ways, the advent of information technology has increased the focus on information overload: information technology may be a primary reason for information overload due to its ability to produce more information more quickly and to disseminate this information to a wider audience than ever before (Evaristo, Adams, & Curley, 1995; Hiltz & Turoff, 1985).