Researchers Identify Four Causes Of "Zoom Fatigue" And Their
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The term "Zooming" has become ubiquitous and a generic verb to replace videoconferencing. Hundreds of millions of meetings take place on virtual platforms every day. The Stanford Virtual Human Interaction Lab examined the psychological consequences of virtual meetings.

In the first peer-reviewed article that systematically deconstructs Zoom fatigue from a psychological perspective, a researcher has taken the medium apart and assessed Zoom on its individual technical aspects. He has identified four consequences of prolonged video chats that he says contribute to the feeling commonly known as "Zoom fatigue."

Below are four primary reasons why video chats fatigue humans, according to the study. Readers can also complete a questionnaire to see where they land on a Zoom Exhaustion & Fatigue Scale (ZEF) Scale.

1) Excessive amounts of close-up eye contact is highly intense.

On Zoom calls, everyone is looking at everyone, all the time. Even if you don't speak once in a meeting, you are still looking at faces staring at you. Another source of stress is that, depending on your monitor size and whether you're using an external monitor, faces on videoconferencing calls can appear too large for comfort.

Solution: Taking Zoom out of the full-screen option and reducing the size of the window relative to the monitor to minimize face size, and to use an external keyboard to allow an increase in the personal space bubble between oneself and the grid.

2) Seeing yourself during video chats constantly in real-time is fatiguing.

Most video platforms show a square of what you look like on camera during a chat. Studies showing that when you see a reflection of yourself, you are more critical of yourself. Many of us are now seeing ourselves on video chats for many hours every day. It's taxing on us. It's stressful.

Solution: Users should use the hide self-view button, which one can access by right-clicking their own photo, once they see their face is framed properly in the video.

3) Video chats dramatically reduce our usual mobility.

With videoconferencing, a person has to generally stay in the same spot. Movement is limited in ways that are not natural.

Solution: Turning one's video off periodically during meetings is a good ground rule to set for groups, just to give oneself a brief nonverbal rest.

4) The cognitive load is much higher in video chats.

In video chats, we have to work harder to send and receive signals. If you want to show someone that you are agreeing with them, you have to do an exaggerated nod or put your thumbs up. That adds cognitive load as you're using mental calories in order to communicate.

Solution: During long stretches of meetings, give yourself an audio-only break so that for a few minutes you are not smothered with gestures that are perceptually realistic but socially meaningless.