What are you doing with your background during online meetings? Research has revealed a background of self that increases competence and trustworthiness!

【 A “zoom background image” was identified that makes you look competent and credible!】


・Durham University in the U.K. investigated how Zoom backgrounds change impressions of others.

・The results showed that using houseplants and bookshelves as a backdrop increased ratings of trustworthiness and competence

・In contrast, the results showed significantly lower ratings of competence and trustworthiness when the background was a living space, a blurred background, or an empty white wall (overly novel backgrounds such as walruses also reduced ratings by participants).

・Tendency to rate confidence higher when the facial expression is a smile, compared to when the background image is the same.

・It was also found that women’s faces were rated higher overall than men’s, regardless of background or facial expression. Furthermore, women’s faces were rated almost as highly as those of houseplants and bookshelves, even when the background was a living space

・This suggests that the lower ratings of competence and trustworthiness with the background as a living space is a specific psychological effect caused primarily by the male face


These are the quotes from the article




Men should pay particular attention to the background!


These days, most of our meetings are online. They are on-screen meetings.

I always have online meetings with my background blurred out, but looking at the study above, I need to change that.

As a background to increase the rating of competence and trustworthiness,


It makes sense, since “using a bookshelf as a backdrop” is often seen in the case of celebrities. (Bookshelf = lots of books = seems like a wealth of knowledge and wisdom, right?)

I also agree with “using houseplants as a backdrop,” because plants and greenery are also reassuring and healing.


The part I just don’t agree with (or understand),


‘Women rate higher overall than men, regardless of background or facial expression.’

‘The lower ratings of competence and trustworthiness with the background being the living space is a peculiar psychological effect caused primarily by the male face.’


This is the point.


In other words,


Women rated higher regardless of background

Men are rated differently depending on background


Evaluation points for women are face, expression

Male evaluation points are face, expression, and background


This difference is interesting, isn’t it?


This is about on-screen evaluations like Zoom, but this may be the case in the real world as well


Even in the real world,


Women are evaluated mainly on their face and facial expressions.

Men are evaluated based not only on their face and facial expressions, but also on their background.


It may be an easy guess, but what do you think?


Yes, when I think about it this way, if I blur my background as a male, my reputation will be diminished.


I guess selfishly and I am selfishly convinced.^^


For future online meetings, I will stop blurring and set up a houseplant behind me. (I don’t have a bookshelf readily available.)


See you then.


Men, background is important!




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