Internal and external intentional forgetting: Empirical studies and prototypical realization of an assistance system for the forgetting of digital information

Third Party Funds Group - Sub project

Overall project details

Overall project: SPP 1921: Intentional Forgetting


Project Details

Project leader:
Prof. Dr. Cornelia Niessen


Contributing FAU Organisations:
Lehrstuhl für Psychologie im Arbeitsleben

Funding source: DFG / Schwerpunktprogramm (SPP)
Acronym: SPP 1921
Start date: 01/10/2016
End date: 30/09/2019


Research Fields

Adaptive human behavior in the context of changes at work
Lehrstuhl für Psychologie im Arbeitsleben


Abstract (technical / expert description):


The increasing digitalization in industry and administration results in long-term storage of ever larger amounts of data. However, large amounts of potentially irrelevant digital objects can hinder efficient work and decisions of individual employees, and negatively affect organizational performance. Human forgetting allows for ignoring irrelevant information and its long-term decay. However, the digital world does not yet exploit these effective mechanisms. In the proposed interdisciplinary project of psychology and computer science, the main goal is to design an assistance system (Dare2Del) which supports employees to manage digital content more effectively. Joint application scenarios are administrative tasks and the support of planning engineers in industrial production. By context-sensitive hiding and permanent deletion of digital objects employees should forget irrelevant information, which, in turn, helps them to focus their attention, avoid interference and improve their decision making performance. Knowledge is needed about which situational demands at work help or hinder intentional forgetting of (internal) memory content or (external) digital objects. This question will be addressed in an experience sampling study with administrative staff. In addition, it is investigated to what extent the ability to intentionally forget helps to suppress irrelevant thoughts, and to ignore irrelevant digital objects in daily work. In an experiment, it is investigated whether hiding irrelevant information actually supports forgetting of irrelevant digital objects, with positive consequences for work performance and cognitive load. Dare2Del is conceptualized as a knowledge-based system based on logical representations, and incorporating different inference and learning mechanisms. The same methods are applied for hiding and deleting. Dare2Del is realized as a generic approach. Exchanging the domain specific knowledge module allows easy adaptation to different application contexts (management of documents in administration or management or quality features in industrial production). The focus in the first funding period is the understanding and formalization of human forgetting in the context of work and it is considered how an information system can detect relevance of digital objects. In the second application period Dare2Del is to be instantiated and evaluated for specific areas of application.



External Partners

Otto-Friedrich-Universität Bamberg

Last updated on 2018-22-11 at 18:01