Book Shelves and Potted Plants as Zoom Call Backgrounds Exudes Confidence, Study Shows

In Education

The meeting background you select for your Zoom meeting can have a notable influence on initial perceptions. Surprisingly, recent research reveals that busier backgrounds are favored by viewers, particularly those adorned with bookshelves and indoor foliage.

Book collections and potted plants popular as zoom background

A study conducted by Durham University’s researchers has revealed that in order to project an impression of reliability and expertise, individuals should contemplate showcasing their book collections or potted plants in the background of their video calls. Remarkably, a crucial aspect of this presentation involves wearing a pleasant smile. Notably, it was observed that men derived greater advantages in shaping initial perceptions when employing these specific backgrounds.

The research aimed to assess viewpoints across various scenarios: a residential environment, a slightly obscured residential environment, indoor potted plants, a shelving unit filled with books, an empty wall, and an imaginative portrayal of a walrus perched on an iceberg. The investigation employed visual representations of both a male and a female subject, each exhibiting either a cheerful demeanor or a neutral countenance, positioned against the diverse backdrops.

The study’s participants were subsequently required to evaluate the perceived competence and trustworthiness of each person. The findings indicate that individuals situated in proximity to bookshelves or potted plants tended to be viewed as more trustworthy and capable. Conversely, individuals positioned in a living environment or featuring unconventional images were regarded as less competent and trustworthy. Furthermore, consistently, individuals displaying smiles were deemed to be more trustworthy and competent compared to those with neutral expressions.

Women had higher trustworthiness rating

When conducting a gender comparison, it was observed that women consistently achieved superior ratings in terms of trustworthiness and competence within various contexts. Nevertheless, the research findings also revealed that in scenarios involving a living environment as the background, the trustworthiness of women appeared on par with individuals surrounded by houseplants or bookshelves.

According to Professor Paddy Ross from Durham’s Department of Psychology, a study reveals that Zoom backgrounds can influence initial impressions. To appear trustworthy and competent, certain backgrounds are recommended while others should be avoided.

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