The cognitive basis of psychosocial impact in COVID-19 pandemic. Does it encircle the default mode network of the brain? A pragmatic proposal.

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Souvik Dubey, MD, DM Mahua Jana Dubey, MD Ritwik Ghosh, MD Alex J. Mitchell, MD Subhankar Chatterjee, MD Shambaditya Das, MD, DM Alak Pandit, MD, DM Biman Kanti Ray, MD, DNB, DM Gautam Das, MD, DM Julián Benito-León, MD, PhD


Epigenetics, hypothalamic-pituitary axes, environmental and metabolic influences, and transgenerational plasticity govern social behavior. Cognitive research considers the brain's default mode network (DMN) as a central hub that integrates various cognitive and social processing domains responsible for emotion perception, empathy, theory of mind, and morality. Hence, DMN is regarded as the "social brain." Upsurge in social turmoil, social anxiety, panic, depression, post-traumatic stress, hoarding, herd behavior, substance and behavioral addictions, sexual abuse, and violence in the time of the COVID-19 pandemic are intricately related to personality traits resulting in disruptive social cognition and social behavior, conceptualized as the result of unsettling and disruption of the functional nexus of the DMN. Considering overt and conspicuous display of neuroticism during the current pandemic, its impact upon modulation of the DMN functional nexus and the DMN itself, and the potential to presage cognitive impairment in the future, the authors caution that an increase in the global burden of dementia may be one of the long-term ramifications of COVID-19. Social behavior, a functional derivative of the DMN, can strikingly affect the functional nexus of DMN and the DMN itself, in a centripetal way via the phenomenon called "Experience-Dependent Plasticity," with long-term consequences. In this review, we intend to 1) decipher the association between social cognition and social behavior with the DMN, in time of COVID-19; and to 2) discuss the prospective aftermath of disrupted social behavior during the pandemic on modulation/alteration of functional connectomes of DMN or the DMN itself in the time ahead.

Keywords: Social Behavior, Cognition, COVID-19, Default mode network

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DUBEY, Souvik et al. The cognitive basis of psychosocial impact in COVID-19 pandemic. Does it encircle the default mode network of the brain? A pragmatic proposal.. Medical Research Archives, [S.l.], v. 10, n. 3, mar. 2022. ISSN 2375-1924. Available at: <>. Date accessed: 25 june 2024. doi:
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