Staring At Yourself During Video Chats May Put You In A Bad Mood

If you’re about to hop on a Zoom call, it’s best to avoid staring at your own face too much. Also, don’t drink beforehand.

Scientists at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign report staring at yourself during video chats may just put you in a bad mood – and consuming alcohol intensifies the issue. The new study finds that the more a person stares at themselves while talking in an online chat, the more their mood will worsen over the course of the video conference.

Study authors believe their findings indicate a troubling connection between online meeting platforms and psychological issues such as depression or anxiety. “We used eye-tracking technology to examine the relationship between mood, alcohol and attentional focus during virtual social interaction,” says Talia Ariss, a doctoral candidate who led the research with U of I psychology professor Catharine Fairbairn, in a university release.

This study adds further credence to earlier research that suggests people who focus more on themselves than on the world around them, particularly during social interactions, may be more susceptible to mood disorders than others.