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J. bras. psiquiatr ; 70(2): 89-90, abr.-jun. 2021.
Article in English | WHO COVID, LILACS (Americas) | ID: covidwho-1511856
PLoS One ; 16(10): e0259094, 2021.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1496528


INTRODUCTION: We read, see and hear news from various media sources every day. A large majority of the news is negative. A previous study from our laboratory showed that reading negative news is associated with both increased stress reactivity (measured via the stress hormone cortisol) and recall of the negative news segments in women. OBJECTIVES: The present study investigated the effects of positive news on cortisol stress reactivity, memory and affect using a methodology highly similar to the study on negative news that was previously used by our team. METHODS: Sixty-two healthy participants aged between 18 and 35 years (81% women) were randomly exposed to either positive or neutral news segments, followed by a laboratory stressor. We assessed participants' affect three times during the procedure and measured cortisol in saliva eight times (at 10-minute intervals). Twenty-four hours later, participants were contacted by phone to assess their recall of the news segments. RESULTS: Results showed that exposure to positive news, relative to neutral news, did not modulate participants' cortisol levels in response to the laboratory stressor. Positive news had no impact on memory recall of the news and did not change participants' positive or negative affect. Bayes factors suggested that these nonsignificant results are not attributable to low statistical power. CONCLUSION: Contrary to negative news, positive and neutral news do not modulate stress reactivity, memory and affect. These results suggest that people can stay informed without physiological and psychological costs when the news to which they are exposed adopt a positive or neutral approach.

Cognition/physiology , Emotions/physiology , Hydrocortisone/analysis , Mass Media , Memory/physiology , Stress, Psychological/physiopathology , Adolescent , Adult , Female , Humans , Male , Saliva/chemistry , Young Adult
Memory ; 29(1): 90-97, 2021 01.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-977321


In the absence of an effective vaccine or treatment, the current best defence against COVID-19 is social distancing - staying at home as much as possible, keeping distance from others, and avoiding large gatherings. Although social distancing improves physical health in terms of helping to reduce viral transmission, its psychological consequences are less clear, particularly its effects on memory. In this research, we investigated the effect of social distancing duration on negative moods and memory. The relation between social distancing duration and both negative mood and memory errors followed the same U-shaped function: negative moods and memory errors initially decreased as social distancing duration increased, and then at approximately 30 days, they began to increase. Subsequent analyses indicated that memory errors were mediated by lonely mood in particular. Thus, short-term social distancing might benefit psychological well-being and memory performance, but extended social distancing has a negative impact on mood and memory.

COVID-19/psychology , Memory/physiology , Physical Distancing , Humans