Zoom fatigue: the causes that try to explain

In 2020, video conferencing was an essential tool that allowed schools and many businesses to keep going. (REUTERS)

For decades, academics have anticipated this Video conferencing technology will disrupt the practice of commuting to and from work and change the way people communicate socially. In 2020, The COVID-19 pandemic has forced a significant increase in the number of videoconferencing meetings. While software has been an essential tool for productivity, learning and social interaction, Something about being in the videoconference all day sounds especially stressful, The concept of “Zoom Fatigue” soon became popular.

Analytical – indicates Jeremy Pilinson, Founding Director of Stanford University’s Virtual Human Interaction Lab, Modern author Investigation-, focus on Nonverbal overload as a possible cause of burnout And how different aspects of Zoom’s current interface are likely to have psychological consequences. Instead of charging the middle The goal is to identify these design flaws to isolate areas of research for sociologists and to suggest design improvements for technologists.

In 2020, videoconferencing was An essential tool that has allowed schools and many companies to keep running. Many platforms have helped millions of people by making video conferencing free and easy to use. In addition, if the practice of attending meetings continues after the pandemic, then fossil fuel consumption should decrease due to reduced physical travel. For example, one study showed that video conferencing uses less than 10% of the energy required for a personal meeting.

While there are dozens of empirical studies in psychology, human-computer interaction, and communication that examine behavior during videoconferencing, Rigorous studies have yet to be performed examining the psychological consequences of spending hours a day in this particular medium.

“As opposed to talking about video conferencing in general,” the author explains, “I focus on Zoom in particular. I am a frequent user of this tool and I am grateful to the product that helped my research group stay productive and allowed friends and family to stay in touch. But, Since it has become the default platform for many in academia, It makes sense to focus on it, as it went from around 10 million users in December 2019 to more than 300 million users five months later. In addition, the ubiquitous proliferation of software has given rise to the year, and many are using the word “Zoom” as a verb to replace video conferencing. “

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Early research on nonverbal behavior is documented Adjustment between gaze and distance between people. The research has replicated these results with virtual faces, meaning that people will attain more distance between people when approaching virtual humans who maintain a virtual gaze compared to those who are not.

Users constantly receive nonverbal cues that have specific meaning in a face-to-face context, but have different meanings in Zoom (Shutterstock)
Users constantly receive nonverbal cues that have specific meaning in a face-to-face context, but have different meanings in Zoom (Shutterstock)

On Zoom in, Behavior usually restricted to close relationships, such as long periods of direct eye contact and faces seen up close, It has suddenly become the way you interact with casual acquaintances, co-workers, and even strangers. There are two components: The size of the faces on the screen and the amount of time the viewer looks at the front view of someone else’s face Simulates eye contact.

Says: “The size of the faces on the screen” BeilinsonThis will depend on the size of your computer screen, how far you sit from the screen, the display settings you choose in Zoom, and the number of faces on the grid. In one-on-one meetings conducted with Zoom, Co-workers and friends keep personal space reserved for loved ones. “

Similar calculations were made with group interactions in the research, and although these metrics remain informal, this pattern does not appear to change as group size increases. In Zoom Networks, faces are larger in field of view than face to face when considering how groups should be naturally separated in physical conference rooms..

“Anyone who speaks for a living understands the intensity of watching for hours,” says the specialist.

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In the Face-to-face interaction, non-verbal communication flows naturally, To the point where Rarely is conscious attention given to non-verbal gestures and signals. On zooming in, nonverbal behavior is still complicated, however Users have to work harder to send and receive signals.

During a video call, users are forced to consciously observe the nonverbal behavior and send signals to others that are intentionally generated. Examples include focusing on the camera’s field of view, nodding exaggeratedly for a few more seconds to indicate approval, or looking directly at the camera (rather than on-screen faces) to try to make direct eye contact with the camera. Talk. Zooming in allows people to somehow reduce the amount of observation; For example, you don’t need to worry about leg movements because they’re not facing the camera.

In magnification, the gaze appears perceptually realistic, but not socially realistic (Reuters)
In magnification, the gaze appears perceptually realistic, but not socially realistic (Reuters)

Another point related to B. Signal reception. In a face-to-face conversation People derive great meaning from their head and eye movements, which help alter cues, agreement, and a range of emotional cues. What happens when these signals are present and perceived by other speakers but are not related to the structure of the person making the gesture?

In many ways, In a video call, the gaze is perceptually realistic, but not socially realistic. Rate your users The state of outlook increased as the levels of social existence decreased – Professor notes-. For example, the participants did not feel “in harmony” with the speakers, nor did they feel that the interaction was smooth.

Zoom users often encounter this disconnect. For example, In a face-to-face meeting, a quick sideways glance in which a person looks at another person has a social meaning, s It is possible that a third person observing this interchange encoded this meaning. In the zoom feature, a user can see a pattern in which it appears on their grid that someone is looking at another person. However, that wasn’t really what happened, since then People often don’t have the same networks. Even if the networks are static, the person watching has likely received a calendar reminder on their screen or a chat message.. Users constantly receive nonverbal cues that have specific meaning in a face-to-face context, but that have different meanings in Zoom.

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He warns that “if one had to compute the similarities between the two, they would greatly outweigh the differences.” Beilinson-. Reality, The success of this method, Like many techniques, It’s about his ability to perfectly mimic face-to-face conversations. Moreover, regardless of the medium, it is important to be aware of this Meetings in general can be very stressful. As well as movements from place to place that Zoom cancels out. Perhaps a factor of the Zoom fatigue is simply this We attend more meetings than we would face to face“.

For decades, academics have anticipated this Communication technology will disrupt the practice of commuting to and from work ten times a week. Even when face-to-face meetings are safe again, it’s possible that the culture has changed last enough to remove some of the stigmas that were previously held against virtual meetings.

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