We document a huge amount of information in our report How Much Information 2009 . Personally I find the 100,000 words per day as startling as the 34 gigabytes. Our report does not go into it, but there is some literature on how constant streams of information affect people. I’ve asked Lin Ong (RA) to pull together some articles, but here is a recent publication about the myth of multitasking, i.e. the claim that people can do several things at once and do them all well. The underlying research the BBC discusses is published here. (fee or license required)
The people who engage in media “multitasking” are those least able to do so well, according to researchers. A survey defined two groups: those who routinely consumed multiple media such as internet, television and mobile phones, and those who did not. In a series of three classic psychology tests for attention and memory, the “low multitaskers” consistently outdid their highly multitasking counterparts. The results are reported in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.