ANN ARBOR—Many people have stayed connected with co-workers, family and friends by using Zoom video conferencing as part of social distancing during the coronavirus pandemic.

The frequent, sometimes long, virtual meetings—especially for work—may have taxed the brain to the point of “Zoom fatigue.”

Priti Shah is a psychology professor at the University of Michigan. She studies cognitive tasks that require managing multiple goals, integrating different sources of information and forming coherent, memorable representations.

What causes “Zoom” fatigue?

Zoom meetings are more demanding cognitively than face-to-face meetings, which rely a lot on visual cues. It is easy to tell if people are paying attention, whether someone wants to speak, whether they are agreeing or disagreeing, and so forth. In a Zoom meeting, it is much more challenging to read people: Are they following along, bored, engaged, in agreement? There is no eye contact or shared eye gaze to provide these cues. Even if people are explicitly nodding or raising hands, it takes extra effort to scan through all the people. Some people have their cameras turned off, and sometimes there are more people than an array can fit, making things even more challenging. There is often a temporal delay. All of these factors make it necessary to consciously think about things that normally would be fairly automatic.

Read the full article at Michigan News.