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1.
PLoS One ; 16(11): e0259664, 2021.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1505780

ABSTRACT

The Covid-19 pandemic has led millions of students worldwide to intensify their use of digital education. This massive change is not reflected by the scant scientific research on the effectiveness of methods relying on digital learning compared to other innovative and more popular methods involving face-to-face interactions. Here, we tested the effectiveness of computer-assisted instruction (CAI) in Science and Technology compared to inquiry-based learning (IBL), another modern method which, however, requires students to interact with each other in the classroom. Our research also considered socio-cognitive factors-working memory (WM), socioeconomic status (SES), and academic self-concept (ASC)-known to predict academic performance but usually ignored in research on IBL and CAI. Five hundred and nine middle-school students, a fairly high sample size compared with relevant studies, received either IBL or CAI for a period varying from four to ten weeks prior to the Covid-19 events. After controlling for students' prior knowledge and socio-cognitive factors, multilevel modelling showed that CAI was more effective than IBL. Although CAI-related benefits were stable across students' SES and ASC, they were particularly pronounced for those with higher WM capacity. While indicating the need to adapt CAI for students with poorer WM, these findings further justify the use of CAI both in normal times (without excluding other methods) and during pandemic episodes.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/physiopathology , Computer-Assisted Instruction/methods , Learning/physiology , Memory, Short-Term/physiology , Academic Performance , Child , Female , Humans , Male , Pandemics/statistics & numerical data , SARS-CoV-2/pathogenicity
2.
J Neurophysiol ; 126(4): 1221-1233, 2021 Oct 01.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1381185

ABSTRACT

Frontal-midline theta (FMT) oscillations are increased in amplitude during cognitive control tasks. Since these tasks often conflate cognitive control and cognitive effort, it remains unknown if FMT amplitude maps onto cognitive control or effort. To address this gap, we utilized the glucose facilitation effect to manipulate cognitive effort without changing cognitive control demands. We performed a single-blind, crossover human study in which we provided participants with a glucose drink (control session: volume-matched water) to reduce cognitive effort and improve performance on a visuospatial working memory task. Following glucose consumption, participants performed the working memory task at multiple time points of a 3-h window to sample across the rise and fall of blood glucose. Using high-density electroencephalography (EEG), we calculated FMT amplitude during the delay period of the working memory task. Source localization analysis revealed that FMT oscillations originated from bilateral prefrontal cortex. We found that glucose increased working memory accuracy during the high working memory load condition but decreased FMT amplitude. The decrease in FMT amplitude coincided with both peak blood glucose elevation and peak performance enhancement for glucose relative to water. Therefore, the positive association between glucose consumption and task performance provided causal evidence that the amplitude of FMT oscillations may correspond to cognitive effort, rather than cognitive control. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, data collection was terminated prematurely; the preliminary nature of these findings due to small sample size should be contextualized by rigorous experimental design and use of a novel causal perturbation to dissociate cognitive effort and cognitive control.NEW & NOTEWORTHY We investigated whether frontal-midline theta (FMT) oscillations tracked with cognitive control or cognitive effort by simultaneous manipulation of cognitive control demands in a working memory task and causal perturbation of cognitive effort using glucose consumption. Facilitation of performance from glucose consumption corresponded with decreased FMT amplitude, which provided preliminary causal evidence for a relationship between FMT amplitude with cognitive effort.


Subject(s)
Cognition , Frontal Lobe/physiology , Memory, Short-Term/physiology , Theta Rhythm , Adult , Blood Glucose , Cross-Over Studies , Electroencephalography , Female , Glucose/administration & dosage , Glucose/metabolism , Humans , Male , Middle Aged , Pilot Projects , Spatial Processing/physiology , Young Adult
3.
J Neurovirol ; 27(1): 191-195, 2021 02.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1059483

ABSTRACT

As cases of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) mount worldwide, attention is needed on potential long-term neurologic impacts for the majority of patients who experience mild to moderate illness managed as outpatients. To date, there has not been discussion of persistent neurocognitive deficits in patients with milder COVID-19. We present two cases of non-hospitalized patients recovering from COVID-19 with persistent neurocognitive symptoms. Commonly used cognitive screens were normal, while more detailed testing revealed working memory and executive functioning deficits. An observational cohort study of individuals recovering from COVID-19 (14 or more days following symptom onset) identified that among the first 100 individuals enrolled, 14 were non-hospitalized patients reporting persistent cognitive issues. These 14 participants had a median age of 39 years (interquartile range: 35-56), and cognitive symptoms were present for at least a median of 98 days (interquartile range: 71-120 following acute COVID-19 symptoms); no participants with follow-up evaluation reported symptom resolution. We discuss potential mechanisms to be explored in future studies, including direct viral effects, indirect consequences of immune activation, and immune dysregulation causing auto-antibody production.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/physiopathology , Cognitive Dysfunction/physiopathology , SARS-CoV-2/pathogenicity , Adult , COVID-19/complications , COVID-19/immunology , COVID-19/virology , Cognitive Dysfunction/complications , Cognitive Dysfunction/immunology , Cognitive Dysfunction/virology , Executive Function/physiology , Female , Humans , Memory, Short-Term/physiology , Middle Aged , Neuropsychological Tests , Outpatients , Time Factors
4.
Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A ; 117(30): 17667-17674, 2020 07 28.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-640584

ABSTRACT

Noncompliance with social distancing during the early stage of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic poses a great challenge to the public health system. These noncompliance behaviors partly reflect people's concerns for the inherent costs of social distancing while discounting its public health benefits. We propose that this oversight may be associated with the limitation in one's mental capacity to simultaneously retain multiple pieces of information in working memory (WM) for rational decision making that leads to social-distancing compliance. We tested this hypothesis in 850 United States residents during the first 2 wk following the presidential declaration of national emergency because of the COVID-19 pandemic. We found that participants' social-distancing compliance at this initial stage could be predicted by individual differences in WM capacity, partly due to increased awareness of benefits over costs of social distancing among higher WM capacity individuals. Critically, the unique contribution of WM capacity to the individual differences in social-distancing compliance could not be explained by other psychological and socioeconomic factors (e.g., moods, personality, education, and income levels). Furthermore, the critical role of WM capacity in social-distancing compliance can be generalized to the compliance with another set of rules for social interactions, namely the fairness norm, in Western cultures. Collectively, our data reveal contributions of a core cognitive process underlying social-distancing compliance during the early stage of the COVID-19 pandemic, highlighting a potential cognitive venue for developing strategies to mitigate a public health crisis.


Subject(s)
Coronavirus Infections/epidemiology , Coronavirus Infections/psychology , Decision Making , Individuality , Interpersonal Relations , Memory, Short-Term/physiology , Physical Distancing , Pneumonia, Viral/epidemiology , Pneumonia, Viral/psychology , Betacoronavirus/isolation & purification , COVID-19 , Cognition , Coronavirus Infections/virology , Humans , Pandemics , Pneumonia, Viral/virology , SARS-CoV-2 , United States/epidemiology
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