Description: Despite the social isolation imposed in order to help manage the consequences of Caovid-19 pandemic we are able to stay in touch and we are able to meet while we work from home (assuming we still have work). Internet connectivity and the free availability of apps such as Zoom are making it possible for us to be all over the place while we are actually staying at home. Wonderful! But why does it feel odd? Why is it tiring? Specifically, why does video chat not feel as natural as real face-to-face chat? Pull together a few psychological hypotheses regarding this question and then read through the article linked below to what a few psychologists have come up with.
Source: The reason Zoom call drain your energy, Manyu Jiang, Remote Control, Covid-19, BBC.com.
Date: April 22, 2020
So, video chats do not feel natural because they are NOT natural. They feel odd because the many aspects of face-to-face communications that we automatically track for information are harder or impossible to access in virtual chats. Our attention has to be focused constantly on the screen in front of us and we are aware at some level that the screen (through our camera) is staring back at us as intently. Silences as the other signs that we use to regulate things like turn-taking in face-to-face chats are not as available in virtual chats and that adds stress to those encounters. If there are delays in responses due to the technologies we are using we likely will not properly adjust the attributional tendencies we built though face-to-face encounters and as a consequence attribute less friendliness or focus to others unfairly. If we open our awareness to these differences, which comes with a fatigue cost, we CAN adjust our attributional tendencies and we can use virtual chat will less stress but the best advice is to think a bit about whether we need to use virtual chat platforms as much as we do. Sometimes a phone call is just right and sometimes a note is just perfect. Like so many new technologies we need to recalibrate and re-automate our social information processing systems in light of the new ways of things. In the short term that IS tiring but if we engage in some self-care along the way we may find we come out of this with a significantly broadened social skill set.
Questions for Discussion:
- What are several ways in which virtual chats differ from face-to-face chats?
- How might people be helped to notice when they are experiencing negative effects of those differences and what can they do about them?
- How might the concepts associated with Emotional Intelligence be applied to virtual social interaction and how might they need to be expanded?
References (Read Further):
Schoenenberg, K., Raake, A., & Koeppe, J. (2014). Why are you so slow?–Misattribution of transmission delay to attributes of the conversation partner at the far-end. International Journal of Human-Computer Studies, 72(5), 477-487.
Schmitt, M., Redi, J., Bulterman, D., & Cesar, P. S. (2017). Towards individual QoE for multiparty videoconferencing. IEEE Transactions on Multimedia, 20(7), 1781-1795. Link
Olbertz-Siitonen, M. (2015). Transmission delay in technology-mediated interaction at work. PsychNology Journal, 13. Link
Linville, P. W. (1985). Self-complexity and affective extremity: Don’t put all of your eggs in one cognitive basket. Social cognition, 3(1), 94-120. Link
Fessl, A., Rivera-Pelayo, V., Pammer, V., & Braun, S. (2012, September). Mood tracking in virtual meetings. In European Conference on Technology Enhanced Learning (pp. 377-382). Springer, Berlin, Heidelberg. Link
De Mio, R. R. (2002). On Defining Virtual Emotion Intelligence. ECIS 2002 Proceedings, 149. Link
Guðjohnsen, S. (2014). Virtual teams and virtual meetings: Investigating the conventional wisdom that face-to-face communication is better (Doctoral dissertation). Link
Ford, R. C., Piccolo, R. F., & Ford, L. R. (2017). Strategies for building effective virtual teams: Trust is key. Business Horizons, 60(1), 25-34. Link