Would Socrates have been less resourceful if he had to zoom in with his interlocutors, rather than physically sitting at a table with them? He. She seminar The fact that his student Plato wrote about a feast full of drinks and ideas would have been less interesting. Perhaps even boring to induce sleep.
From an American research published last week at temper nature It shows that teams that meet online are less creative than groups that meet physically to exchange ideas. According to the researchers, the close focus on the screen comes at the expense of the associative processes that are necessary for innovation and creativity.
The two scientists, Melanie S. Brooks (Columbia University) and Jonathan Leff (Stanford) research in the lab and in the field. First, they experimented with 602 people in a lab. This was later repeated among 1,490 employees of a telecom company with offices in Finland, Hungary, India, Israel and Portugal. Both times, the random duo had to devise new ways to use existing products, like a frisbee or a bubble, a classic test of creativity.
Online teams have always been less successful at this than duos who have come together physically. In the lab, hypothetical pairs came up with an average of 14.7 ideas (6.7 creative), and real pairs 16.8 (and 7.9 creative) in five minutes. The jury considered creative ideas that are innovative or at least useful. Sending Morse code through bubble wrap is more creative than using it as baby clothes, According to Brooks at Watchman† Online teams were just as effective as real teams in choosing their best idea.
The researchers also followed the participants’ eye movements and tested their memory afterward. They found that online teams looked around less during the meeting and remembered less about their surroundings, including unusual objects such as a skeleton poster or a bowl of lemons. This also suggests a relationship between creativity and a ‘broad’ associative viewpoint.
The differences are not huge, but they are significant due to the progress of online meetings during the Corona pandemic. Employees are accustomed to working hypothetically and deliberately and employers are responding to that. Even after the Corona measures, online counseling has remained a consistent practice in many companies.
Brucks and Levav also studied other possible explanations for the difference in creativity, such as decreased mutual trust in an online environment or the inability of participants in Zoom sessions to make eye contact. For the first time, they found insufficient evidence. The second, in their opinion, did not play a significant role.
It’s not the first study into the negative effects of online meetings. One study From Swedish-American scientists to online meetings that last year showed that frequent and long online consultations promote ‘Zoom fatigue’. Women reported experiencing this more often than men. Researchers find link with stronger ‘mirror fear’ (mirror anxiety) that women experience during online sessions, because they also see their own face constantly. Introverts and older adults also experienced more Zoom stress.
These researchers were very cautious in their conclusions. Their study was based on self-reports from respondents who applied to the survey through word of mouth and fatigue posts from Zoom.
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