Une étude montre un impact négatif sur les performances cognitives

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Homme piégé Masque taille M/L

Les chercheurs ont découvert que la diminution des performances cognitives était causée par l’inconfort et la gêne liés au port de masques plutôt que par un mécanisme physiologique. Cependant, les participants ont pu s’adapter à la distraction au fil du temps.

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Selon des recherches de l’Université du Queensland, les masques faciaux peuvent perturber temporairement la prise de décision dans certaines situations.

Une nouvelle recherche de l’Université du Queensland démontre que le port d’un masque facial peut avoir un impact temporaire sur la prise de décision dans certaines situations.

Le Dr David Smerdon, de l’École d’économie de l’UQ, a mené une étude sur près de 3 millions de mouvements d’échecs effectués par plus de 8 000 joueurs dans 18 pays, avant et pendant le[{” attribute=””>COVID-19 pandemic. The results showed that wearing a mask significantly lowered the average quality of players’ decisions.

“The decrease in performance was due to the annoyance caused by the masks rather than a physiological mechanism, but people adapted to the distraction over time,” Dr. Smerdon said.

“The data showed masks were more likely to decrease performance in situations where there was a demanding mental task with a high working memory load. This is something to keep in mind for occupations in the STEM fields of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics as well as other professions that demand a high level of working memory such as language interpreters, performers, waiters, and teachers.”

Dr. Smerdon, an Australian chess Grandmaster, said while mask mandates had helped to curb the spread of COVID-19, almost nothing was known about their impact on cognitive performance.

“At the moment there are no large studies on the impact of mask-wearing on the general population,” he said.

“Chess can provide us with that insight as it requires calculation, memory, problem-solving, and pattern recognition and has been used extensively in psychology, neuroscience, and economics to measure changes in cognitive performance.”

Dr. Smerdon’s study found that while mask-wearing had a negative impact on chess performance, the effect subsided after four to six hours of playing.

“The results suggest that the effect of masks may depend on the type of task, the duration of the task, and working memory load,” he said.

Dr. Smerdon said understanding the impact of mask-wearing on decision-making could help individuals and organizations better evaluate when and how to use them.

“For example, education policymakers may need to bear in mind the disruptive effects of masks when designing exam conditions to address concerns about student health and fairness,” he said.

Reference: “The effect of masks on cognitive performance” by David Smerdon, 28 November 2022, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
DOI: 10.1073/pnas.2206528119

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