Listening to More of You : Gazing at ourselves
After a year of studying over zoom, I realized that most of the time in the video chat I tend to look at myself. Even when I video called with my boyfriend and friends.
I found several articles about why people can't stop looking at themselves in video chat. In the article, they mentioned that keeping our eyes fixed on our own reflection can feel stress-relieving in this high-stimuli environment because we are familiar with our environment and we are knowing it's real and controllable.
At the same time, staring at ourselves can cause distraction. Our mind might be wandering around do we give the appropriate facial expression with others in the conversation, how strange my hair is today or how good do I look to others. This experience is an unusual experience in the physical world because normally we can't observe ourselves all the time. These videoconferences provide a unique insight into how we operate in the world.
This week, I used 'Webgazer.js' to check if it's true that I looked at myself more often than I thought.
In the experiment, I asked my friends to video chat with me for 5 minutes and open the eye-tracking sketch in the background(fullscreen). They will be asked to align their video in the video chat with the camera in the sketch. The sketch will count how many times people are staring at themselves during the call. However, I found that Webgazer.js library is still very finicky, so the result might be a little exaggerated. Also, the library is not working with people who wear glasses.
As a result, I found that I keep staring at myself around 35 times in a 5 minutes call while my friends also have quite similar results. They also admitted that they also keep staring at themselves on zoom as well.