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The Science Behind: Zoom Fatigue

You know the feeling when you're in your fifth Zoom meeting of the day, and you're eyes are burning, and your mind is slowly falling into the deep abyss of boredom?

That the newly discovered phenomenon nicknamed- Zoom fatigue.

The same feelings can be felt over Gatherly, Google Meet, Google Hangouts, Skype, and the rest of the extensive list of communication tools that became popular during the pandemic.

This feeling is collectively felt by everyone working from home, every teacher, and definitely every student.

The interesting part?

It has an effect on your brain far beyond losing your 20/20 vision, and boredom.

Humans are incredibly social human beings. We NEED to talk, express our feelings, and participate in conversations. Even if, you're an extreme introvert, you've felt the lack of social interaction during the lockdown.

Humans communicate even without speaking. Hand-gestures, sharp inhales, sighs, fidgeting, tapping your fingers, etc. These slight movements can indicate your feelings without you having to speak. During in-person conversations, you not only use your words but also non-verbal communication. Our brains read these cues to analyze how the person in front of us is reacting.

On Zoom, people choose not to turn on their cameras. I understand that! I'm as insecure as the next person. However, turning your camera on makes it MUCH easier for the speaker to read the room.

Not only is it awkward it's mentally draining. Especially in the gallery view, your brain is trying to process all of the stoic faces at once. This is like trying to read a book and watching TV at the same time. You're hearing noises, and seeing things at the same time, but not really understanding any of it. On the other hand, if you choose the single-speaker view, you're only looking at one person, and not picking up visual/audible cues from anyone else something you would do in person.

All of this multi-tasking or lack thereof causes our brain to become tired.

On the contrary, Zoom meetings are easier for people who struggle with in-person conversations.

All in all, Zoom meetings are exhausting. However, just like any other thing in the world, it has a bright side.

Until next time...

Stay Curious ;)




Cover: Aakash Thaker

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