Friday, September 10, 2021


Researchers of Brown University analyzed the cognitive performances of 672 children born in Rhode Island; 188 born during the pandemic (after July 2020), 308 born before it (prior to January 2019) and 176 of them born during its beginning stage (between January 2019 and March 2020) (abstract). They found that children born during the pandemic have up to 20 percent lower IQs than those born before it. This is really no surprise at all!

Aug. 14, 2021 War Room Pandemic - Liz Yore: IQs Dramatically Dropping During Covid.

COVID-19 has been debilitatingly boring for newborns, disturbing new research has found.  (...) “It’s not subtle by any stretch,” lead study author and Brown University associate professor of pediatric research Sean Deoni told the Guardian of the trend. “You don’t typically see things like that, outside of major cognitive disorders.” (More on New York Post)

A drop in cognitive abilities by as much as 20 percent is shocking, but it really ought not to be a surprise, giving that the fundamentals for the wiring of the human brain are starting to develop almost immediately after birth. 

We have to thank the philosopher Ayn Rand for her great discovery related to human concept formation based on Aristotelian philosophy. Rand uses a different terminology, but the analytical process is the same.

Concept formation works as follows. For example the concept 'length'. If a child looks at a match, a pencil and a stick, he sees that length is the attribute they have in common; but their specific lengths differ. In order to form the concept the child retains in his mind the length and omits its measurements.

In words: “Length exists in some quantity, but may exist in any quantity. I shall identify as ‘length’ that attribute of anything that exists that has length without specifying the quantity.”

The child does not say or think that consciously of course, because he can't yet talk. It is an automatic process.

Having grasped the concept of “length” by having seen the three objects, he uses it to identify the attribute of length in other objects, say a piece of string, a ribbon or a street.

The same principle takes place when learning entities, a table for instance. The child isolates two or more tables from other furniture by focusing on their distinctive shape. He sees that their shapes vary, but have one characteristic in common: a flat, level surface and supports.

He forms the concept “table” by retaining that characteristic and omitting all particular measurements, not only the measurements of the shape, but of all the other characteristics of tables, even those tables he does not yet know.

This is of course an all important and a very delicate process taking place at a tender age. Now consider what happens to a child that lives in an environment that lacks objects to learn.

There is the lack of exposure to the wider world due to lockdowns. At home parents are keeping their distance from the child so as not to infect it with the virus. When the child does see his parents, their faces are half covered with masks.

IQ and cognition are an important thing. But what about social skills? The Brown University research has not looked into that. We learn to read emotions from faces also at a very young age. 

So now we know that kids growing up during the Covid-19 crisis have social and cognitive disadvantages. Not to mention children from social classes that are already disadvantaged.

Thankfully brains are like muscle, they are flexible. Still, only the future will tell what the consequences will be of our sometimes idiotic behaviors with which we think to protect our kids from the virus.