Image credit: Zebra school counselor.
The global epidemic of the corona virus has had a profound effect on the lives of people around the world.
The Lockdown, which took place as a result of a global pandemic, not only affected human life, but also introduced many new and advanced technologies. Before the Corona virus, very few people were familiar with online communication applications, such as Zoom, Google Classroom, and Microsoft Teams, but the advent of Covid introduced these applications to everyone. Classrooms have been transformed into online classrooms and business meetings into online meetings. While these applications made things easier for us in difficult times and helped us in staying connected with our loved ones as well but like every technology has its pros and cons, these applications do have negative impacts and One of them is the zoom Fatigue.
Most of us have a laid back attitude when it comes to taking Online classes or attending meetings on online platforms. How strange it is that we do not have to travel or face the heavy traffic and we can work comfortably sitting at home, yet we still feel tired But we are not alone as many people’s are reporting the same experience which has now earned a name “zoom Fatigue”. Though this term can also be applied to the exhaustion we feel while using other video conferencing apps like face time, Skype and Google meets etc.
Researchers at Stanford University identified this phenomenon. Professor Jeremy Bellison, establishing head of the Stanford Virtual Human Interaction Lab (VHIL), analyzed the mental outcomes of spending hours on video communication applications. On February 23 in the journal Technology, Brain and Behavior, Bellison outlined four outcomes of long video chats that he said played a key role in the sensation commonly known as “Zoom Fatigue”.
close-up eye contact can be very intense: In physical setting, we can look around, we can look at the speaker or do some other stuff but in online platforms we have to look at the screen continuously and its like every one is staring at us which can be exhausting. As we already know that the mere presence of people can be stressful and can make us anxious.
Looking at yourself continuously can be stressful: In most of the video conferencing apps, not only other people are looking at you but you too have to look at yourself continuously which can be fatiguing and stressful. As Bailenson said, “In reality, in the event that someone was chasing after you with a mirror continually – so that while you were conversing with individuals, deciding, giving criticism, getting input – you were seeing yourself in a mirror, that would simply be insane. Nobody could at any point think about that,” he further added.
Video chats lessen our mobility: In video meetings when your camera is on, you can’t move unreservedly or you can have mechanical movements which isn’t natural. This is another explanation for zoom Fatigue as per the researcher as sitting at one place for longer time can be tiring. He supported his idea by quoting previous researches. “There’s a growing research now that says when people are moving, they’re performing better cognitively,” researcher added.
Video chats increase our cognitive load: This is due to the fact that video calls actually require more mental processing than face-to-face interactions. Nonverbal signals, which we rely on in face-to-face encounters, are more difficult to process. Bailenson said that, in video chats me have to use more mental energy as he added, ““You’ve got to make sure that your head is framed within the center of the video. 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.”
Bailenson also gave some solutions through which this Fatigue can be minimized and suggested the developers that the changes in the interface can be helpful for the users.