Jens Alberts

Publication of the third study

How can decision support systems have a positive impact on users' cognitive resources and well-being? We address this question in our article published today in the Ergonomics Journal.


Decision-makers in organisations are often overtaxed by huge amounts of information in daily business processes. As a potential support strategy, this study examined ‘directed forgetting’ (Bjork, 1970) in a simulated sales planning scenario. We assumed that the availability of a computer-based decision support system (DSS) triggers forgetting of decision-related background information. Such directed forgetting should not only release memory capacities for additional tasks but also enhance decision quality and decrease strain of decision makers. Assumptions were tested in an experimental study with N = 90 participants. Consistent with our assumptions, results revealed higher recall of decision-unrelated information, higher decision quality, and higher well-being when participants could use a DSS as compared to two control conditions without a DSS. Moreover, directed forgetting effects were qualified by participants’ trust in the DSS. This study provides first evidence for directed forgetting effects cued by information systems in a business context.


Hertel, G., Meeßen, S. M., Riehle, D. M., Thielsch, M. T., Nohe, C., & Becker, J. (2019). Directed forgetting in organisations: The positive effects of decision support systems on mental resources and well-being. Ergonomics, Vol. 62 (No. 5). doi: https://doi.org/10.1080/00140139.2019.1574361