Grumpy after a Zoom meeting? It can be your own video film!

New research shows that the longer people look at their heads during virtual meetings, the worse their mood is during the meeting.

Anyone sipping alcohol during such a Zoom meeting — either surreptitiously or more legitimately during a virtual Friday afternoon drink — is even worse. Because under the influence of alcohol, people seemed to see themselves more often during meetings, and their moods were even sharper.

You can read that in the magazine Clinical Psychological Science† “We used Eye trackingtechnology to examine the relationship between mood, alcohol, and attention during virtual social interactions,” said researcher Talia Aris. Subjects filled out questionnaires about their emotional state before the online meeting and did the same afterward. During the meeting, except for their interlocutor’s leader—with whom They had to talk about their musical preferences and – among other things – they saw their own image on a screen. Some subjects drank alcohol before the interview. Others were given a non-alcoholic drink. And during the conversation, Eye tracking This established what the subjects were seeing. “We found that those who saw more of themselves during the conversations felt worse after the meeting (…) and those who were drunk saw more of themselves.”

“We don’t know if people felt bad for looking at themselves,” said study researcher Catherine Fairbairn.† “But we know that they stopped seeing themselves because they were in a bad mood before the meeting.” In other words, the mood actually worsened during the meeting. So the mentality of people who think too much about themselves is very affected.

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Focus on yourself
The finding didn’t even come as a big surprise to the researchers. Previous studies have already shown that people who focus more on themselves than on external factors, especially during social interactions, are more prone to mood disorders. “Someone who is highly focused is more likely to report feelings of anxiety and even depression,” Aris said.

Alcohol does not help
What surprised the researchers, however, was how their mood improved when they consumed alcohol during virtual meetings. “There is strong evidence that alcohol acts as a kind of social lubricant and improves mood during in-person social interactions (i.e. when people physically gather together, ed.),” Aris says. “But this was not the case for online conversations, where alcohol consumption made people even more focused on themselves and did not have a positive effect on mood.”

Grumpy and tired
Research may help explain why Zoom meetings are so tiring and generally not mood-enhancing. “Based on this study, no causal relationships can be drawn,” Fairbairn asserts. “But when you consider these results with the many studies that link them to low mood, ​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​ is is not such a bad idea (your own image on the screen contributes to poor mood, ed. ).”

A solution seems obvious; Make sure you don’t see yourself on the screen. “Once you check you look good and your hair isn’t all over the place, it might be worth it. Self view So you can focus on other faces,” Fairbairn said. “At this point in the pandemic, many of us have realized that virtual interactions are not the same as interacting with someone face-to-face. Many people struggle with fatigue and depression after a day of Zoom meetings. And our research suggests that the image of yourself you see on multiple video platforms makes these interactions more difficult than they need to be.”

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Although the research of Fairbairn and colleagues is not suited to determine precisely how certain emotions are expressed during virtual interactions, which are mainly in interactions, Fairbairn dares to say that based on his research those virtual interactions are in fact incommensurable. Traditional conference room. “Virtual is – when it comes to social elements – an unexplored universe. Things we thought we knew about interactions can turn out to be very different online. Instead of making assumptions, it’s important to investigate further.”

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