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Stanford University’s research puts “zoom fatigue” into focus



Researchers at Stanford University in Silicon Valley confirmed what millions of remote workers already know: “boring video calls” can lead to “non-verbal overload,” so “zoom fatigue” is more stressful than real life.

A study conducted by Jeremy Bailenson, a communication professor and founding director of the Virtual Interpersonal Interaction Laboratory at Stanford University, found that the root causes of zoom fatigue include “excessive near-sightedness” and “because of staring.” Self-evaluation increased by video viewing”

;. Yourself”.

Bailenson wrote: “Zoom users are seeing their own reflections with unprecedented frequency and duration. This is unprecedented in the history of media, and even in the history of people.”

He suggested that some of these problems can be solved by making “simple changes” to the Zoom user interface, such as automatically hiding the “selfie” window after the first few seconds of a call, which reflects the user back to himself.

Bailenson also recommends that Zoom users make simple changes themselves to reduce stress, such as reducing the size of the video window to make other people’s faces less close.

He added that more video conferences should only be conducted over the phone.

Bailenson’s paper, published in the journal this week Technology, thought and behaviorStanford University called it “the first peer-reviewed article that systematically deconstructs Zoom fatigue from a psychological perspective.”

It is accompanied by another study that has not yet been peer-reviewed, which uses a “exhaustion and fatigue” scale to measure impact. After tens of thousands of people completed the questionnaire, Berenson said that there is a “strong theoretical reason to predict” that by watching their own videos all day, women are more affected than men.

As pandemics and lockdown waves forced offices to close, thousands of knowledge workers around the world now spend most of the year in unused bedrooms and home offices.

As a result, video conferencing applications (such as Zoom, Microsoft Teams, and Google Meet) are booming. Last year, Zoom’s stock price almost quadrupled, with a market value of more than $100 billion.

Byronson said that he thinks Zoom is really “great” and “good job”, but it has become a “sandbag” for frustrated office workers. In an interview with the British “Financial Times”, he said: “We can’t control a lot of life, but we can yell at Zoom.”

He admitted that compared with the daily trauma suffered by medical staff in overloaded hospitals, the problem of Zoom fatigue appears pale and weak. Even in developed countries, millions of people do not have access to a reliable broadband connection, and many cannot afford the hardware required to make video calls.

Nonetheless, the Stanford University study emphasizes the mental burden of being forced to sit in front of a camera and look at a screen full of faces (including our own faces).

Bailenson writes: “On Zoom, behaviors that are usually reserved for intimate relationships (such as long-distance direct gaze and close observation of faces) have suddenly become ways for us to interact with casual acquaintances, colleagues, and even strangers,” Bailenson wrote .

Byronson said that he had tried to talk to Zoom about his findings, but “still waiting for the meeting.”


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