Does Your Zoom Background Affect Your Image?

Want to make a good impression on Zoom? Then smile and consider your background, say researchers from Durhan University, UK, whose study was published in the journal PLOS ONE.

The team asked people to rate the trustworthiness and competence of virtual meeting screenshots showing a man or woman against a backdrop featuring a living space, a blurred living space, houseplants, a bookcase, a blank wall, or a novelty picture of a walrus on an iceberg.

They found that faces with houseplant and bookcase backgrounds were rated more trustworthy and competent than with other backgrounds.

Happy and female faces were also seen as more trustworthy and competent than neutral or male faces.

While more research is needed to confirm these findings, they do suggest that videoconference users who want to make a good impression might smile and choose a background with houseplants or a bookcase.