Several months into the COVID-19 pandemic, I found myself engaging in a pattern of committing to, then shamefully dodging, scheduled Zoom calls with friends. Despite missing my interactions with friends (social interaction is essential to overall well-being, after all), I couldn't seem to muster enough energy to log on. This feeling, I later learned, has been coined "Zoom fatigue," and I'm not the only one who's experienced it.

The phenomenon has become so widespread—due to an increase in video chats for work meetings, birthday celebrations, and even first dates—researchers from Stanford University set out to understand the psychological effects of too much video conferencing.

The study, led by Jeremy Bailenson, Ph.D., founding director of the Stanford Virtual Human Interaction Lab (VHIL), was published Tuesday in the journal Technology, Mind, and Behavior. It confirms that spending too much time on video chat is, in fact, tiring people out. They pinpointed four main reasons, along with practical solutions.

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