There is no evidence yet to confirm this phenomenon, so no research has been conducted yet to compare the strength of memory before and after the Corona epidemic. But in a survey conducted by the Alzheimer’s Association, half of the respondents stated that the memory of their relatives and close friends had deteriorated after they had lived in isolation.
It seems that the restrictions placed in nursing homes to limit contact with others, which in some cases have banned the entry of visitors for months, have negatively affected the health of their residents.
The University of California, Irvine is conducting research on the effect of quarantine on memory, after some brilliant people, who have the memory of super personal events that allow them to remember events such as buying a movie ticket 20 years ago, stated that their memory was betraying them recently.
There are many types of memory. Forgetting the things you wanted to buy is not the same as forgetting a name or event that happened last week. But research into memory has revealed many ways in which our new, isolated environment may affect our memory.
The most prominent factor revealed by this research is isolation, as the lack of social contact may negatively affect the brain, and this effect is doubled on those who already suffer from memory disorders.
How does quarantine affect memory?
The monotony of conference calls via the “Zoom” app, on the same screen day in, day out, makes all virtual meetings look the same
Although some studies indicated that rates of loneliness did not change during the pandemic, the social interactions of many have become limited to a small number of people. Quarantine measures have lost us the benefits of side conversations in corridors of companies or at parties, where we chat with dozens of people in one evening, and we tell each other his experiences.
Repetition of stories helps consolidate memories, by transferring information about events and experiences into long-term memory. And if we were prevented from mixing with others, it would not be surprising if these memories seemed blurred.
In fact, there are not many stories to share with others, after trips are canceled, weddings and concerts postponed, and sporting events are held without an audience. Our conversations with co-workers may now be limited to complaints about electronic devices and Internet failures.
Some people may compensate for this lack of communication via the Internet, but communicating via the Internet differs from meeting others face to face. When you talk to others online, you may not come across these seemingly trivial simple experiences. You may need to embellish your experience and add some interesting details in order to make it worthy of the listener’s attention in order to bear the line interruption or delay in the arrival of the sound or image. And you may be preoccupied with these details from highlighting the experience, to take root in memory.
Moreover, many recently reported feeling anxious and fearful of life. No matter how satisfied a person is with his life, and feels that he is better luck than others who suffer from the difficulties of life, one cannot ignore this mystery that haunts the world now.
Daisy Fancourt, a psychobiologist at University College London, and her team are researching people’s feelings during the pandemic. Although the levels of anxiety that reached their peak with the beginning of the quarantine, gradually decreased, they are still higher than their rates in the usual periods, especially among young people or people who live alone, live with children, are paid low wages or live in cities.
The UK Office for National Statistics indicated that rates of depression have recently doubled. Depression and anxiety are known to negatively affect memory. Fears strain the memory and fail with it to comprehend other information, such as a shopping list or business needs, to be called up later.
How does quarantine affect memory?
It can be difficult to remember events because they have become the same
These factors were exacerbated by the similarity and repetition of the experiments, making them difficult to distinguish from one another. When you go out to work, changing the environment and rest times during the workday can help you organize your day and set your schedule. Linking events to specific times contributes to consolidating memories.
But when you work from home, you will feel that all online meetings are no different from each other, because you often sit in the same place in front of the same screen, so there are no prominent signs to distinguish similar memories from each other.
“If the days are not very different from each other, then trying to remember the experiences you have will be no less difficult than trying to play a piece on a piano without black keys,” says Kathryn Loveday, professor of cognitive neuroscience at the University of Westminster.
And when you’re in the workplace, going in front of a room in which you attended a particular meeting might remind you that you want to send an email to someone to let them know the outcome of the meeting. At home, there are no distinct signs that remind you to do the tasks you missed.
All memories in the home are related to sitting in front of the computer, while the work environment may help you to remember, for example, where you talked with your colleague, because he was near the elevator or in the kitchen. These signs distinguish the events from each other and help you to recall them.
Fatigue also affects memory. Meetings through the “Zoom” application are cumbersome, and some tasks are more difficult to perform at home than in the work environment. A lack of daily regimen and anxiety over an epidemic may affect our sleep patterns, all of which leave us exhausted throughout the day.
When fatigue meets anxiety, events and days are similar, and social interaction subsides, it is not surprising that our memory fails us.
Lafday adds to this another factor, which is the effect of spending time in different geographical locations on the brain and memory.
How does quarantine affect memory?
Meetings in a work environment may take place in different rooms, and these different experiences contribute to consolidating memories
As soon as we leave our homes, we pay attention to the details of the streets and landmarks around us. A region of the brain called the hippocampus or the hippocampus is activated when we try to figure out which path to take in the middle of the forest or through the city streets.
Studies indicated that the hippocampus area for taxi drivers in London was larger than usual because they memorized the streets by heart. Veronique Papot, a neuroscientist at McGill University in Canada, found that if people lived in closed, stereotyped environments as they age, their use of the hippocampus decreases.
And I also noticed that drivers who rely on GPS, and do not try to search for their destination, have fewer spatial memories, and these memories depend on the hippocampus region.