Anyone who’s used Zoom (read: everyone) has experienced the token "loud person" on video calls. Some of you reading this are that person. Yeah, you. Now, scientists have discovered what causes you to raise your voice on these calls: low image quality.
When we can't see well, we speak louder.
New research, conducted by the Radbound University Nijmegen in the Netherlands, has revealed deep insights on the connection between speech and gesture. In the study, participants spoke for 40 minutes in a video call while the image quality slowly decreased.
As expected, people's gestures became exaggerated, slower, and more frequent as the picture got blurrier. To researchers' surprise, though, people's speech also became 5 decibels louder. It appears speech and gestures are closely integrated in the human psyche, regardless of whether we are talking on the phone, over Zoom, or IRL.
So how should one better deal with shoddy reception? Pretty simple: less exaggeration, more clarity. Instead of speaking louder, articulate more. Instead of making bigger gestures, make more precise gestures.
Or you can mute yourself, curse your WiFi, and take a 3 hour mental health walk. That's also effective...