Conceptualizing Information Systems and Cognitive Sustainability in 21st Century 'Attention' Economies (Includes Syllabus)

Piedmont Project

16 Pages Posted: 5 Jun 2007

See all articles by David A. Bray

David A. Bray

Institute for Defense Analyses; Harvard University; Emory University - Goizueta Business School; National Defense University; Forbes Ignite; University of Oxford

Date Written: April 2007


This course will bring together a group of students studying information systems (IS), primarily in business, though we welcome additional perspectives to include IS in medicine, public health, law, environmental sciences, neurobiology, or other fields. As a class, we will analyze and discuss the issues of individual and group cognitive sustainability in multitasking, knowledge-driven economies. Specifically, as developed societies increasingly become knowledge-driven economies, the risk of eroding cognitive sustainability and emotional well-being of humans also increases. Similar to the effect of pollution on the Earth's natural environment, information pollution can erode the limited attention spans of individuals and cause detrimental stress-related effects for both individuals and societies as a whole.

Keywords: information pollution, knowledge overload, attention spans, information systems, cognitive distortion, social distortion, evolutionary biology

JEL Classification: D70, D83, D89

Suggested Citation

Bray, David A., Conceptualizing Information Systems and Cognitive Sustainability in 21st Century 'Attention' Economies (Includes Syllabus) (April 2007). Piedmont Project, Available at SSRN: or

David A. Bray (Contact Author)

Institute for Defense Analyses ( email )

4850 Mark Center Dr
Alexandria, VA 22311
United States

Harvard University ( email )

1875 Cambridge Street
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

Emory University - Goizueta Business School ( email )

1300 Clifton Road
Atlanta, GA 30322-2722
United States

National Defense University ( email )

Marshall Hall
300 5th Avenue
Washington, DC 20319-5066
United States

Forbes Ignite

New York, NY
United States

University of Oxford

United Kingdom


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