Science

The pandemic and the distortion of reality Québec Science

Since the start of the pandemic, my work-related expenses have decreased: no more lunches with colleagues, the monthly renewal of my transport card and pretty clothes that no one will compliment me on. But I’m not that frugal. I bought a computer stand, top quality headphones, a tripod, and a very flattering light. I am far from being the only one to have had this idea!

A Signs.com survey of 1,507 people found that 71% of them adjust the lights before a video conference call and more than half tidy their backgrounds. The pandemic has forced us to share our privacy and this one is obviously neither smooth nor perfect. But the desire to look good is stronger than anything. Thus have appeared tripods and computer supports to have a camera at eye level (so as not to stress our double chin) and high definition (but not too powerful to maintain an artistic blur) and especially a luminous halo to even out the complexion and make our eyes shine! In the early months of the pandemic, some of these devices became as hard to find as toilet paper and antiseptic gel!

But looking at your own face, in a video thumbnail, for several hours a day can become unhealthy, especially for people with dysmorphophobia, a disorder that affects about two percent of the population and is characterized by excessive preoccupation with it. appearance to the point of causing psychological distress. Katharine Phillips, professor of psychiatry at Weill Cornell Medical College at Cornell University in New York, has seen symptoms in her patients with the disorder worsen in recent months. In Australia, researchers have also observed more distress in individuals with dysmorphic disorders, hard hit by the closure of beauty salons during confinement episodes. Katharine Phillips believes that the stress of the health crisis could trigger the onset of the disorder in people with predispositions (such as being bullied at school).

By showing our interlocutors a perfect image, what game are we playing? What expectations do we want to match? Those of society… or those in our head? As we find ourselves, for the first time perhaps, in a situation where we are literally all in the same boat, isn’t this an opportunity to stop pretending and allow ourselves a little vulnerability? ?

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