During the COVID-19 lockdown, individuals were forced to remain at home, hence severely limiting the interaction within environmental stimuli, reducing the cognitive load placed on spatial competences. The effects of the behavioral restriction on cognition have been little examined. The present study is aimed at analyzing the effects of lockdown on executive function prominently involved in adapting behavior to new environmental demands. We analyze non-verbal fluency abilities, as indirectly providing a measure of cognitive flexibility to react to spatial changes. Sixteen students (mean age 20.75; SD 1.34), evaluated before the start of the lockdown (T1) in a battery of psychological tasks exploring different cognitive domains, have been reassessed during lockdown (T2). The assessment included the modified Five-Point Test (m-FPT) to analyze non-verbal fluency abilities. At T2, the students were also administered the Toronto Alexithymia Scale (TAS-20). The restriction of behaviors following a lockdown determines increased non-verbal fluency, evidenced by the significant increase of the number of new drawings. We found worsened verbal span, while phonemic verbal fluency remained unchanged. Interestingly, we observed a significant tendency to use the left part of each box in the m-FPT correlated with TAS-20 and with the subscales that assess difficulty in describing and identifying feelings. Although our data were collected from a small sample, they evidence that the restriction of behaviors determines a leftward bias, suggesting a greater activation of the right hemisphere, intrinsically connected with the processing of non-verbal information and with the need to manage an emotional situation.
Source: Read More: Behavioral Restriction Determines Left Attentional Bias: Preliminary Evidences From COVID-19 Lockdown