What the emoticons you use say about you

Over 90 percent of digital applications incorporate emoji and emoticons in their texts and emails and researchers wonder what might disclose the use of (* _ ^), (> _ <) o = D on human behavior.

Early studies suggest that these typographical deployments can help in intercultural communication and provide an insight into the personalities of the user, information that could be of interest to various disciplines from linguistics to marketing.


In an article published Tuesday in ‘Trends in Cognitive Sciences’, psychologists Linda Kaye, Stephanie Malone and Helen Wall discuss the role of emoji and emoticons as tools to assess how we relate to each in the digital age.

During the interactions face to face (or Face-time to Face-time), are essential verbal and nonverbal cues such as facial movements, voice and hand movements are essential to understand the meaning of what we are communicating. Researchers believe that the emoji and emoticons are used similarly as visual aids to clarify and understand a message.

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“We use mainly emoji as gestures, as a way to improve emotional expressions , ” says Linda Kaye (@LindaKKaye), Edge Hill University, UK. “There are a lot of idiosyncrasies in the way we gesticulate and emoji are similar to that, especially because of discrepancies in how and why we use them,” he says.

Emoji and emoticons, popular on social networking sites and messaging applications, are not just for the so-called millennial generation. A survey in 2014 of 1,000 people in the United States showed that only 54 percent of users smileys were in the age range of 18-34 years .

Communicating through a smiling face may actually be more closely related to personality than with age. “If you look at personality traits like kindness, how kind you are to other people, it seems to be related to whether you use emoji or not,” says Kaye.

Psychologists also want to use digital data to understand how communicating through emoji and emoticons can provide insight into social inclusion. Depending on how we use emoji, these simple demonstrations of virtual emotion can affect how we perceive others.

“People are making judgments about us based on how we use emoji and they are not necessarily accurate,” Kaye says. “What we need to know is that these judgments may differ depending on where or with whom these emojis are being used, Of work or among family members “.

Questions regarding the emoji as a true portrait of emotion remain unanswered , but in the coming years, researchers hope to understand how the Emoji could serve as the intersection between interactions in person and ‘online’ and how human nature can Reflected through digital media.


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