Reducing Zoom Fatigue

During the past year, I noticed certain psychological effects, like feeling tired or uncomfortable from the increased use of Zoom in meetings and lectures. Researching online if others experienced the same, I stumbled across a paper on “Zoom Fatigue”. The term describes “nonverbal overload as a potential cause for fatigue, and provides four arguments outlining how various aspects of the current Zoom interface likely lead to psychological consequences.” (Bailenson. 2021)

  1. Excessive amounts of close-up eye gaze (interfering with personal space, physiological arousal)
  2. Cognitive load (complicated nonverbal communication, speaking louder)
  3. Increased self-evaluation from staring at video of oneself (stress, pressure)
  4. Constraints on physical mobility (camera field of view, tied to desk)

The paper outlines multiple software and hardware solutions to reduce these effects. The software can, of course, only be changed by the companies themselves. However, there are some tips & tricks for the average user:

  • Setting up monitor with proper distance. Potentially using external webcams and keyboards.
  • Activate “Hide self-view” option in Zoom settings.
  • Limit the size of heads on display by adjusting the view and the Zoom window.
  • Audio-only meetings for small groups (2-3 people).

Reading this paper helped me understand that I´m not alone in experiencing these issues with this new way of communicating. Providing students with information about the effects of increased use of videoconferencing as a tool and potential solutions to reduce its negative effects would be something helpful to implement.

Source: Bailenson, J. N. (2021). Nonverbal Overload: A Theoretical Argument for the Causes of Zoom Fatigue. Technology, Mind, and Behavior, 2(1). How can the community members help make your idea stronger? What else did you notice? How did you solve it? (Expected) Impact

Photo by Luca Bravo on Unsplash

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