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Know About Where Do Employees Actually Gaze At During Video Calls

For the study, published in the journal Attention, Perception & Psychophysics, the team compared fixation behaviour in 173 participants under two conditions

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The phenomenon known as "gaze cueing," a powerful signal for orienting attention, is a mechanism that likely plays a role in the developmentally and socially important wonder of "shared" or "joint" attention where a number of people attend to the same object or location. Pixabay

 As more and more people use video conferencing tools to stay connected in social distancing times, neuroscientists from Florida Atlantic University have found that a person’s gaze is altered during tele-communication if they think that the person on the other end of the conversation can see them.

The phenomenon known as “gaze cueing,” a powerful signal for orienting attention, is a mechanism that likely plays a role in the developmentally and socially important wonder of “shared” or “joint” attention where a number of people attend to the same object or location.

“Because gaze direction conveys so much socially relevant information, one’s own gaze behaviour is likely to be affected by whether one’s eyes are visible to a speaker,” said Elan Barenholtz, associate professor of psychology. For example, people may intend to signal that they are paying more attention to a speaker by fixating their face or eyes during a conversation.

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“Conversely, extended eye contact also can be perceived as aggressive and therefore noticing one’s eyes could lead to reduced direct fixation of another’s face or eyes. Indeed, people engage in avoidant eye movements by periodically breaking and reforming eye contact during conversations,” explained Barenholtz.

People are very sensitive to the gaze direction of others and even two-day-old infants prefer faces where the eyes are looking directly back at them. Social distancing across the globe due to coronavirus (COVID-19) has created the need to conduct business “virtually” using Skype, web conferencing, FaceTime and any other means available.

For the study, published in the journal Attention, Perception & Psychophysics, the team compared fixation behaviour in 173 participants under two conditions: one in which the participants believed they were engaging in a real-time interaction and one in which they knew they were watching a pre-recorded

The researchers wanted to know if face fixation would increase in the real-time condition based on the social expectation of facing one’s speaker in order to get attention or if it would lead to greater face avoidance, based on social norms as well as the cognitive demands of encoding the conversation.

Online, Webinar, Teacher, Conferencing, Tutor, Video
As more and more people use video conferencing tools to stay connected in social distancing times, neuroscientists from Florida Atlantic University have found that a person’s gaze is altered during tele-communication if they think that the person on the other end of the conversation can see them. Pixabay

Results showed that participants fixated on the whole face in the real-time condition and significantly less in the pre-recorded condition. In the pre-recorded condition, time spent fixating on the mouth was significantly greater compared to the real-time condition. There were no significant differences in time spent fixating on the eyes between the real-time and the pre-recorded conditions. To simulate a live interaction, the researchers convinced participants that they were engaging in a real-time, two-way video interaction (it was actually pre-recorded).

ALSO READ: “Coronavirus Lockdown Will Teach People Many important Lessons About Life”, Says Actor Aparshakti Khurana

When the face was fixated, attention was directed toward the mouth for the greater percentage of time in the pre-recorded condition versus the real-time condition. “Given that encoding and memory have been found to be optimized by fixating the mouth, which was reduced overall in the real-time condition, this suggests that people do not fully optimize for speech encoding in a live interaction,” the authors wrote. (IANS)

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Messenger Rooms: Facebook’s Group Video Chat feature Available on Instagram

Facebook Messenger Rooms is now available in Instagram as users can invite upto 50 for a video conference

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Messenger Room
Facebook has introduced Messenger Room feature in Instagram. Pixabay

Instagram is the latest in Facebooks family of apps to be integrated with the new group video chat feature Messenger Rooms.

With the latest update, Instagram users will be able to invite up to 50 people for a video chat session.

“Beginning in the present day, you’ll be able to create @messenger Rooms on Instagram and invite anybody to hitch,” Instagram said in a tweet on Friday.

Meanwhile, Instagram also shared a video revealing the steps to make use of the brand new characteristic.

A user first need to go to Instagram Direct messages. There, tap on the video chat icon. Then select Create a Room. One can now send invitations for the room to their Instagram friends.

WhatsApp
Messenger Rooms integration is also coming to WhatsApp. Pixabay

Instagram will then create a room and show a link to it. It will also give an option to Join Room or Send Link and if a user tap on Join Room, Instagram will ask to open the room in the Messenger app.

Messenger Rooms integration is also coming to WhatsApp and has been noticed in the beta version.

Also Read: Facebook Workplace Gathers 5 Million Paid Users

Last month, Facebook announced Messenger Rooms which allow group video calls of up to 50 people with no time limit.

People can create a room right from Messenger or Facebook, and invite anyone to join the video call, even if they don”t have a Facebook account.

In Facebook Messenger Rooms, the users can post links in their News Feed or in Groups or event pages. (IANS)

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McLaren Removes OnePlus as Partner For The 2020 F1 Season: Report

OnePlus removed from McLaren's partners' page

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Mclaren
MClaren has not listed OnePlus as partner for the 2020 F1 season. Wikimedia Commons

OnePlus has released “McLaren Edition” smartphones for couple of years but now, a Reddit user reports that the British carmaker has not listed OnePlus as partner for the 2020 F1 season.

The removal of the Chinese brand from the list of partners has resulted in the speculation that the OnePlus 7T Pro McLaren Edition will most likely not get a successor this year, reports XDA Developers.

OnePlus has been doing special editions of its phones for a few years now.

The OnePlus 5T was available in the Star Wars: The Last Jedi Edition, and the OnePlus 6 was available in a Marvel Avengers Edition.

Both of these smartphones were available in limited quantities and in select regions only.

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The removal of the Chinese brand from the list of partners has resulted in the speculation. Wikimedia Commons

Also Read: 64% Deaths in Males, 36% in Females: Covid-19 Death Analysis

The smartphone maker launched the OnePlus 6T McLaren Edition, with a new and distinct CMF (colour-material-finish), 10GB RAM and Warp Charge 30 charging technology, to expand the scope of these special editions.

The most recent McLaren Edition device from the OnePlus was OnePlus 7T Pro.

The company recently launched its 8 series smartphones, the OnePlus 8 and OnePlus 8 Pro. Both are powerful as well as expensive and the smartphone maker will have to find a new partner to give that a special twist worth paying more for. (IANS)

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Indian Workers Miss Office as Work From Home Becomes the New normal

Lockdown initially thrilled the people to work from home, but now they have started to miss the office environment

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Two months after working from home, Shweta Andrews, a digital editor at a publishing house, says she wants to head back to office because personal interactions with colleagues are important. (Photo Courtesy: Shweta Andrews). VOA

As she settled down to work from home when India announced a lockdown in March due to Coronavirus (COVID-19), Shweta Andrews thought exultantly “this is the way to go.” After all she no longer had to do the grinding commute between office and home in the Indian capital that took up two hours daily.

Two months on, the digital editor of a publishing house is nostalgic about that ride. “I miss my colleagues and believe it or not, I miss travelling in the Metro. I miss the rush. I miss the crowd.”

The unprecedented experiment of work from home that began in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic has prompted some Indian companies to explore the possibility of scaling up remote work as they eye long term benefits such as smaller office spaces and lower rentals.

But at a time when a long, stringent lockdown has intensified social isolation, many are finding that an interactive office environment is hard to replace at home.

A New Delhi-based senior professional in a global company, Apoorva Bapna, dismisses the notion that remote work could be the “new normal” and points out that while flexi-hours are welcome, online connections cannot replace the energy generated by professional spaces.

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Apoorva Bapna says office spaces generate energy that cannot completely be replaced by online connections. (Photo Courtesy: Apoorva Bapna). VOA

“There is just that much of bouncing of ideas I can do on a video call or a phone call. Sometimes you just need to sit across the table and have that heated conversation or a debate or just exchange ideas,” says Bapna.

India’s Information Technology sector appears to be blazing the trail for adopting the work-at-home model as the industry gears up to have nearly half the country’s four million I-T workers operate remotely – up from an average of 20 percent before March. The country’s biggest technology company Tata Consultancy Services says that it will have 75 percent of its workforce operating from home by 2025.

Some companies that rely heavily on online work could make the shift much sooner because they found it to be an efficient model in the last two months.

“From a purely productivity standpoint, we have seen a fairly smooth transition in work from home,” says Raghav Gupta, managing director, India and Asia Pacific with Coursera, a U.S. based online learning platform. He gives an example. “If I would go to Bangalore and meet two sets of people in a day, I can do five meetings today by sitting at home.”

As India eases its stringent lockdown and offices begin to reopen with a much leaner staff onsite, the debate has begun heating up.

Some assert that the personal touch provided by an office environment cannot be overlooked, even in the IT sector. “You get ready for the day, it is a mental shift you make,” according to Abhimanyu Mukherji, a service delivery manager in New Delhi with a partner company of software organization, SAP. “Just walking up to someone and talking to my team has a different impact. Now there is a loss of human touch and social interaction which we all are so used to.”

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While it is possible to be productive even doing work from home, Abhimanyu Mukherji says walking up and talking directly to his team has a different impact. (Photo Courtesy: Abhimanyu Mukherji). VOA

While he and his team delivered to their clients’ satisfaction during the lockdown, he points out that working at home from living rooms and dining tables can pose challenges of the kind that some of his team members with young children faced.

“When the kids are at home, they expect a lot of attention from the parents and therefore they are having a lot of difficulty in actually concentrating on the job,” says Mukherji. “The children assume that you must be on leave so you should be giving them all the attention.”

There are also the constraints that living in small apartments or extended families throw up, especially in cities with expensive rentals.  “It is not easy for people who live in Bombay, in smaller homes with six to eight family members crammed up in two bedroom homes,” points out Bapna.

And work from home settings can be even more burdensome for women. “We do everything on the house front and we also manage our office work, which is fairly hectic,” says Bapna who was caught in the lockdown in Jaipur city where she was visiting her parents.

Amid the lockdown there have been no comprehensive surveys to indicate which way Indians would prefer going. But a recent survey by a Bengaluru based research firm, Feedback Insights, found that two-thirds of employees were concerned about personal wellbeing, a lack of connectedness with the team and overall anxiety about the job environment. They also cited frequent distractions at home as a key challenge.

Read More: These Books Can Drive Boredom Away in Lockdown 4.0

However benefits such as savings for companies, less traffic on roads, less pollution and less spending on fuel and daycare will inevitably lead to a greater push for the work-at-home model in the post Covid world.

“By choice and also by planning we will say – you go to office two days a week, you may or may not have a dedicated desk, and the other three or four days you consistently work at home,” says Gupta at Coursera.

But shrinking office spaces, thanks to technology and the new emphasis on social distancing, is something many view with trepidation. Andrews draws an analogy with reading a book on Kindle – it does not replicate the original. “The feeling of holding a book in your hand, that touch, that smell, that personal feeling you get – it’s the same as personal contact in an office,” says Andrews. “So yes technology and computers and zoom and Kindle don’t work as well as interacting with a real human being does.” (VOA)