Author ORCID Identifier

Date of Award

Spring 5-29-2024

Document Type

Thesis (Undergraduate)


Cognitive Science

First Advisor

Samantha Wray


This study investigates Zoom Dysmorphia, a heightened self-awareness and self-criticism of perceived physical flaws due to prolonged self-view on video conferencing platforms, with associated behaviors resembling symptoms of Body Dysmorphic Disorder (BDD). Drawing on Veale’s (2001, 2004) and Neziroglu’s (2004) cognitive-behavioral models of BDD and prior studies on BDD which suggest the development and maintenance of BDD through excessive self-focused attention and attentional bias, this study explores the potential cognitive and emotional implications of this phenomenon. Participants engaged in two mock video conferences with self-view enabled in one meeting and disabled the other for comparison. Eye tracking technology monitored their gaze patterns, while pre- and post-meeting questionnaires assessed mood, self-esteem, and self-confidence. It was hypothesized that participants would focus on self-reported unattractive areas of their own face more often than other areas of their face and would focus on the same corresponding self-reported unattractive areas on others, enforcing a comparison gaze pattern as motivated by the social comparison theory applied to body dissatisfaction (Neziroglu, 2008). Moreover, it was hypothesized that, when self-view was enabled, participants would report lower self-confidence, self-esteem, and mood afterwards. Eye patterns and questionnaire responses were analyzed through paired t-tests, one way ANOVAs, and a repeated measures ANOVA. Statistical analysis found no significant difference in attention between self-reported unattractive areas of participants’ faces and other areas of their faces. Participants did exhibit a shift in gaze from self-reported unattractive areas of their own face to the corresponding area on the actors that reached significance. Self-confidence, self-esteem, and mood were not significantly impacted by the presence of the self-view window.

The findings of this study provide valuable insights into the potential effects of prolonged self-view on attentional biases and social comparison processes during video conferencing. As the use of Zoom and other video conferencing platforms has become ubiquitous in work, education, and telehealth settings, understanding the psychological impact of these technologies is crucial. The results suggest that while self-view may not significantly influence mood, self-esteem, or self-confidence, it may facilitate comparisons between one's own perceived flaws and the corresponding features of others, mirroring cognitive processes seen in BDD. While further research is needed to fully understand the psychological ramifications of prolonged self-view on video conferencing platforms, these findings underscore the importance of further research into the potential consequences of extensive video conferencing use on body image concerns and mental well-being, as well as the need for strategies to mitigate any negative effects. The insights gained from this study can inform the development of guidelines and interventions to promote healthy video conferencing practices in various contexts.