Thus the Covid-19 pandemic is worsening our memory

The Covid-19 pandemic has forced all of us to change our lifestyle habits and adapt to new rules. But if for some “lucky” people the change did not have particular repercussions, for many others it had a negative influence on a series of conditions, sometimes compromising skills that previously seemed banal and obvious to us. Such as those relating to memory, currently the subject of a study conducted in the United Kingdom by researchers at the University of Westminster who, following the many anecdotal reports of people complaining of difficulties in remembering things recently said or done, have undertaken an analysis to ascertain the real impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on our memory.

The survey, performed through an online questionnaire aimed at ascertaining the presence of daily memory difficulties, indicated that about 80% of the participants the survey reported that at least one aspect of their memories worsened. The most common difficulty, the researchers indicated, was that of not remember exactly when a certain event has occurred. This discomfort was reported by 55% of people, suggesting that the pandemic has somehow influenced the perception of time, creating confusion in the distinction between days, weeks and even months, and therefore making it difficult to accurately place one’s experience over time.

The survey data, anticipated in a recent interview with BBC by Catherine Loveday, professor of cognitive neuroscience at the University of Westminster, also highlighted that another of the most common difficulties is that of not remembering the right word to say in one sentence. In psychology this feeling is known as “phenomenon of speech on the tip of the tongue”, Something that we all experience from time to time and that happens more frequently with names. Why this forgetfulness increased during the Covid-19 pandemic is unclear, but it could simply be explained by the fact that over the past year we have had less opportunity to speak with others in person. We are, so to speak, out of practice in social interaction.

Another common memory difficulty was forgetting to say or do something that had been asked of us, the most likely explanation of which would lie in the lack of signals from the external environment. For example, instead of commuting to work, commuting to the office, or going to a different location for a meeting, many people have spent their time isolated at home, perhaps staring at a screen for hours and not seeing anyone walk past their desk. Distractions that, on the other hand, in some way, could bring our attention back to things to do.

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