Understanding Zoom Fatigue (02-19-21)

Investigators have identified several reasons for Zoom fatigue that are consistent with research previously done by environmental psychologists. Bailenson and colleagues, via a study published in Technology, Mind and Behavior, have determined, for example, that “Excessive amounts of close-up eye contact is highly intense. . . . everyone is looking at everyone, all the time. . . . depending on your monitor size and whether you’re using an external monitor, faces on videoconferencing calls can appear too large for comfort. . . .  When someone’s face is that close to ours in real life, our brains interpret it as an intense situation that is either going to lead to mating or to conflict. . . . Most video platforms show a square of what you look like on camera during a chat. . . . when you see a reflection of yourself, you are more critical of yourself. . . . Movement is limited in ways that are not natural. ‘There’s a growing research now that says when people are moving, they’re performing better cognitively,’ Bailenson said.” Environmental psychologists have extensively researched eye contact, personal space, mirror use, and the cognitive implications of movement.

Vignesh Ramachandran. 2021.  “Stanford Researchers Identify Four Causes for ‘Zoom Fatigue’ and Their Simple Fixes.”  Press release, Stanford University, https://news.stanford.edu/2021/02/23/four-causes-zoom-fatigue-solutions/