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This paper discusses collaboration awareness from a cognitive perspective. Several models of the cognitive process are reviewed to distill awareness drivers that, when regarded in the collaboration context, set up a comprehensive view of collaboration awareness. Our major research goal is developing collaboration awareness support taking into consideration the need to provide awareness about the group but also the need to preserve cognitive load. The selected case study involved brainstorming. We developed a brainstorming tool having a collaboration awareness component that automatically balances the parallel production of ideas and the cognitive stimulation of users by reading the others' ideas. This balance is based on a set of heuristics regarding task switching and cognitive load. The experimental results indicate the component increased the production of ideas by 9.6%, while giving users 54.7% more time to type ideas without being interrupted. These results suggest the collaboration awareness component could effectively balance individual and group work. These results contribute to improve awareness support in collaboration technology.