Working Paper Series
Attention Manipulation and Information Overload
Abstract: When a decision-makerís attention is limited, her
decisions depend on what she focuses on. This gives interested parties an
incentive to manipulate not only the substance of communication but also
the decision-makerís attention allocation. This paper models such attention
manipulation. In its presence, competitive information supply can reduce
the decision-makerís knowledge by causing information overload. Further, a
single information provider may deliberately induce information overload to
conceal information. These findings, pertinent to consumer protection,
suggest a role for rules that restrict communication, mandate not only the
content but also the format of disclosure, and regulate product design.
Keywords: Communication; Information Overload; Limited Attention; Persuasion; Disclosure; Complexity; Consumer Protection; Salience; (follow links to similar papers)
JEL-Codes: D18; D82; D83; M38; (follow links to similar papers)
54 pages, December 13, 2013
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