While Zoom and Skype calls are super popular right now, I found it interesting that an article in the New York Times affirmed something I suspected for a long time.

Video chatting is highly problematic.

 And not just because of security concerns.

Here’s the deal.  Human communication is dependent on reading facial expressions, particularly around the eyes and mouth.  Our brains pick up on minute movements and twitches, often subconsciously.

Unfortunately, these movements are distorted through video software. 

In order to recognize emotion in someone else, we have to internalize it and we do that by mirroring.  This helps us feel empathy and connection.

When we can’t do it easily, like on a video chat, we feel unsettled.  Our ability to read another person is compromised.

If you’re thinking about arranging a video chat with someone you just met online, think again.

There have been studies on this.

Interpreters at the United Nations reported burnout, fogginess and alienation when translating via video.

The problem is the way video images are coded, adjusted and decoded.  The resulting images confuse our perception and distort social cues.

Our brains try to re-order things, which leave us feeling uneasy and tired.

Is this the kind of experience you want with someone you’re meeting for the first time?

Better stick to the phone.

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