Q&A: Why video calls can be bad for creativity

The popularity of video calls soared during the COVID-19 pandemic as office closures required new ways for workers to connect. But for all their benefits, videoconferencing apps have their downsides, too — and it’s not just Zoom-fatigue after several back-to-back meetings.

A recent study, “Virtual communication curbs creative idea generation,” published in the journal Nature found that  creativity took a hit when people work collaboratively via video. That’s apparently because videoconferencing restricts a person’s focus to the computer screen, effectively filtering out the rest of the physical space people occupy. This narrowing of view also serves to restrict cognitive focus, stifling the creative thoughts that come more naturally as people’s eyes wander when talking to others in-person.

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