As schools and office buildings closed down last year to help prevent the spread of COVID, students and remote workers used video-streaming to bring classrooms and conference rooms into their homes.
Companies that many never heard of, such as Zoom, quickly became household names. But researchers at California’s Stanford University have now identified “Zoom fatigue,” which includes “excessive amounts of close-up eye gaze” and an “increased self-evaluation” from seeing yourself in the video feed.
The Financial Times reported that Jeremy Bailenson, a professor of communication at the school, wrote that by using these apps, users see more of “themselves at a frequency and duration” that has not been “seen before in the history of media.”
The paper reported that Bailenson’s study was published in the journal Technology, Mind, and Behavior. The report said it is the first study that has been peer-reviewed, which “systematically deconstructs Zoom fatigue from a psychological perspective.”
Bailenson noted some factors that contribute to “Zoom fatigue.” He said the eye contact is “highly intense,” and during these meetings, everyone watches everyone else the entire time. He said seeing yourself constantly in real-time is fatiguing. He added,
“In the real world, if somebody was following you around with a mirror constantly – so that while you were talking to people, making decisions, giving feedback, getting feedback – you were seeing yourself in a mirror, that would just be crazy. No one would ever consider that.”
Bailenson is working on additional studies and said there is a “strong theoretical reason to predict” women are more impacted from seeing themselves in Zoom chats for long periods.

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