A decline in cognitive functions – such as memory, attention and decision-making – is connected to the tightest restrictions in Scotland’s COVID-19 lockdown, a new peer-reviewed study has found.
The research, led by Dr Joanne Ingram from the University of the West of Scotland (UWS), in partnership with Glasgow Caledonian University (GCU), has concluded that restrictions on social interactions led to poorer memory, attention and decision-making, but that these abilities improved as social restrictions were eased.
The study, which took place between May and August 2020 and was funded by the Chief Scientist Office (CSO), also found that people’s mood improved consistently over this time period, and that improvements in cognitive tasks were different for people who were shielding or living alone, depending on when restrictions changed for them.
When the Scottish Government instigated the initial lockdown in spring 2020, most people suffered a significant decrease in their amount of social interaction, and we know from research with older adults that reduced social interaction links to poorer cognition.
Dr Joanne Ingram, Lecturer in the School of Education and Social Science at UWS