A Communication Model with Limited Information-Processing Capacity of Recipients

System Dynamics Review, 2008

34 Pages Posted: 24 Oct 2008

See all articles by Oleg V. Pavlov

Oleg V. Pavlov

Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) - Department of Social Science & Policy Studies

Robert K. Plice

San Diego State University

Nigel P. Melville

University of Michigan, Stephen M. Ross School of Business

Date Written: 2008

Abstract

We develop a system dynamics model of message-based communication, where the information-processing capacity of message recipients is limited. Profit-seeking broadcasters send messages, but only some of these messages are valuable to recipients. Recipients cannot determine whether or not a message is valuable until it is processed. Information overload occurs when more messages arrive than recipients can process. Numerical experiments test alternative approaches for mitigating information overload. We show that message filtering can increase the flow of for-profit communication. Market-based mechanisms, while aimed at improving the social outcome, can actually lead to suboptimal results and to a complete collapse of for-profit communication.

Keywords: information overload, spam, e-mail, attention, microeconomics, communication

Suggested Citation

Pavlov, Oleg V. and Plice, Robert K. and Melville, Nigel P., A Communication Model with Limited Information-Processing Capacity of Recipients (2008). System Dynamics Review, 2008, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1288319

Oleg V. Pavlov (Contact Author)

Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) - Department of Social Science & Policy Studies ( email )

100 Institute Road
Worcester, MA 01609
United States

HOME PAGE: http://www.olegpavlov.org

Robert K. Plice

San Diego State University ( email )

San Diego, CA 92182-0763
United States

Nigel P. Melville

University of Michigan, Stephen M. Ross School of Business ( email )

701 Tappan Street
Ann Arbor, MI MI 48109
United States

HOME PAGE: http://webuser.bus.umich.edu/npmelv/

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