New Study Finds Self-Viewing During Video Calls Causes Mental Fatigue

New study finds seeing your own image on video calls can increase mental fatigue, suggesting turning off self-view as a simple solution to combat "Zoom fatigue".

Muhammad Jawad
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New Study Finds Self-Viewing During Video Calls Causes Mental Fatigue

New Study Finds Self-Viewing During Video Calls Causes Mental Fatigue

A recent study conducted by researchers at the University of Galway in Ireland has revealed that seeing one's own image during video conferencing calls can lead to increased mental fatigue. The findings, published in the journal Computers in Human Behavior, shed new light on the phenomenon known as "Zoom fatigue" that has become prevalent in the era of remote work.

The study, led by Prof Eoin Whelan, used electroencephalography (EEG) to monitor the brain activity of 32 volunteers, consisting of an equal number of men and women, during a live Zoom meeting. The participants were observed under two conditions: with the self-view mode turned on and off. The results showed that fatigue levels were significantly higher when participants could see their own image on the screen.

Interestingly, the study contradicts previous research that suggested women experience more Zoom fatigue than men due to heightened self-awareness of their appearance. Prof Whelan and his team found that both men and women exhibited similar levels of heightened alpha brain activity, which is associated with restful and meditative states, when the self-view mode was enabled.

Why this matters: The findings contribute to the understanding of fatigue associated with the increased use of video conferencing in the workplace and offer practical insights for organizations aiming to protect employee wellbeing in the era of hybrid and remote work. As video calls have become an integral part of modern work life, addressing the factors that contribute to mental fatigue is critical for maintaining productivity and employee satisfaction.

The study's authors highlight the practical implications of their findings, suggesting that simply turning off the self-view mode can help offset fatigue during virtual meetings. Prof Whelan stated, "Our research shows that the feelings of fatigue during video calls are real, and that simply turning off the mirror image can help offset this fatigue in virtual meetings."

The University of Galway study provides valuable insights into the psychological impact of video conferencing and offers a simple yet effective solution for mitigating the mental fatigue associated with self-viewing during virtual meetings. As organizations continue to navigate the challenges of remote and hybrid work, these findings can inform best practices for conducting video calls and help create a more sustainable and productive virtual work environment.

Key Takeaways

  • Seeing one's image during video calls leads to increased mental fatigue.
  • EEG study found higher fatigue levels when self-view mode was enabled.
  • Contradicts prior research on gender differences in Zoom fatigue.
  • Turning off self-view mode can help offset fatigue in virtual meetings.
  • Findings inform best practices for sustainable remote/hybrid work environments.