- Claudia Hammond
- The future of the BBC
My starting point was that friends complained that memory often seems to fail during locking.
At the time, I was talking to Catherine Lovede, a memory researcher who is a professor of cognitive neuroscience at the University of Westminster in London.
We discussed various factors that may be present in the game, but there is no data to calculate how common this feeling of weak memory is at that point.
Now, thanks to Lovedew, we have the data. They are preparing for an educational release, but he gave me a preview of the results in a psychology program I present on BBC Radio 4.
In her research, Lovede used the Daily Memory Questionnaire (“Daily Memory Questionnaire”), which asks respondents to give a subjective assessment of how different aspects of their memory have recently functioned (we are better than you think). Questions like:
Have you forgotten to tell someone something important?
Did you start reading anything, did you realize you had read this before?
For this study of memory during the Govit-19 era, participants were asked whether they believed in each question: whether their memory improved, remained intact, or deteriorated during epidemics.
The statements I heard seem to reinforce the data.
Although some lucky ones felt that their memory had improved, 80% of the participants reported that at least one aspect of their memory had deteriorated, a significantly higher percentage than we would normally find.
It should be noted that some of these participants responded to a call on social media to fill out a questionnaire on memory failure during epidemics. In other words, they were a self-selected model and they may have decided to participate for that reason.
But not all participants were recruited in this way, and the results were similar regardless of how they came to participate in the study.
The most common change is forgetting when an event or incident happened, which 55% of people said happened to them.
This suggests that the epidemic has affected our perception of time, which is not surprising.
When I reviewed the literature on time in my book Time cast, It becomes clear that some memories are called time stamps.
When a memory is subtle, clear, and personally engaging, and then turns into a story we have told many times, that memory can be traced exactly to the chronology of our lives.
But most events in our lives are not like that, so it is difficult to put them in a timely manner. This question is especially true for many aspects of the epidemic.
Of course, you may remember when you first heard that we were locked up (or if you were that lucky) when we were vaccinated.
But for more than a year nothing clear and different (or interesting) happened to anyone.
The range of our activities is very narrow – online meetings, hiking, television and home cooking.
Days, weeks, months combined into one. Last Wednesday looks like the previous Monday, and it is very difficult to know which month you may have walked in a particular park.
I was curious to see if people remember the right word to say in a sentence, the second most common type of saying that their memories have gotten worse.
This is called a tip-tongue phenomenon (TOT) in psychology.
We all go through this from time to time – and it often happens with names. (Usually we remember when it’s late. “Oh, his name is Tom!”)
It is not clear why these chapters tend to forget words during the restrictions imposed by Govt-19, but this can be explained by the fact that many of us are working alone at home or in a workplace with detachment. Opportunities to speak in person with others over the past year.
We do not practice social interaction.
Other common memory problems revealed by new data: Forget what you were told and do what you were told to do.
Often the explanation for this is the lack of clues in the external environment.
Instead of going to work, walking around the office, going to other places for meetings, and constantly bumping into people, some of us are often confined to one room at home and stare at endless online meetings on the same screen.
When people leave too much, they will walk across the room where a particular meeting took place or see someone walking past their desk, reminding us of memories like, yes, we have to report to the next meeting or tomorrow that friend’s birthday.
It is noteworthy that most subtle memories, the ones that come with the time label or the ones we remember, include events that occur outside, which may fit the hypothesis that our brain’s hippocampus becomes more active when we are away from home. , May be an attempt to ensure that we always find our way.
Conversely, if our lives are still controlled, activity in this area of the brain, which is so important for autobiographical memory, is likely to decrease.
So, in this new research on memory during locking, one of the biggest predictors of how well people thought their memories would be was how much they moved during the day.
Those who went out slightly, entered different buildings, or were able to move from room to room reported fewer memory problems.
Another important factor — at first glance very surprising — was gender. The women said more that their memory had deteriorated.
What can explain this? Women seem to score higher because they experience more negative changes in their work situations, relationships and higher rates of overall stress.
This is in line with other studies that have shown that women are more prone to locks.
Loveday asked people to describe an unforgettable memory from their life in a locked space.
Participants were more likely to choose memories from April 2020, at the beginning of the first lock, than after being locked.
Some themes such as spending time in nature and new jobs, births, being unemployed, and funerals came out in earnest.
People tended to describe how they did normal things with friends or family, but in an unusual way. One participant talked about playing ping pong with his mother wearing gloves and a mask.
The good news is that these so-called episodic memories were very detailed.
“I see this as a sign that the memory systems are‘ not broken ’,” Lovede concludes.
“But they’s not always in full range.”
For those of us who do not have cognitive impairments, it suggests that when life is hectic again, there will be old traces and our useful memories will return.
Soon, like other aspects of this strange and sad year, the growing oblivion will fade from our minds.
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