“When we communicate via video, we are constantly trying to determine (even unconsciously) whether it is our turn to speak, whether it is time to answer the other person, whether he is following our thought,” explains Steve Harrison, professor at Virginia Tech. – We are asking about something, but because of the delay in sound, we may not get an answer right away. There is a strange feeling that we are talking to ourselves. “
Another source of stress is the image format: we see ourselves differently from the mirror, and often what we see we do not like at all. Moreover, it happens that throughout the entire conversation we keep looking at ourselves, trying to control how we look, which also does not allow us to relax. Small windows with images of the participants in the conversation, the speaker’s portrait unfolded to the full screen – all this is also rather unnatural. And, besides, if the screen is large, we subconsciously perceive what is depicted on it as a threat: the sympathetic nervous system is activated and the “fight or flight” reaction can be triggered.
Finally, many research participants note that the interlocutors (especially their gaze) often look unnatural. Psychologist Susan Pinker talks about research into biochemical reactions that arise in the course of communication in various formats: in person, on social networks, and by phone. Their results confirm that face-to-face dialogue releases the most neurotransmitters – dopamine, which makes us feel happy, and oxytocin, which promotes communication.
Why is it so important to know about all this? If only because, perhaps, video conferencing is not a temporary measure, but our new reality, a sign of the “brave new world”, because many companies do not plan to return employees to their offices. This means that we all have to adapt in one way or another, learn to communicate with each other through the screens of our monitors.