Beaver Falls, PA -- (ReleaseWire) -- 07/08/2014 -- A study shows that emoticons can either temper or boost the emotional punch of what the user writes, suggesting they're not extraneous flourishes in a message, but helpful cues that clarify what the user really wants to convey. According to a 2007 experiment, sad messages have more impact with a :( and joyful messages seem more joyful with a :). In fact, the simple combination of a colon, parenthesis and dash is a closer stand-in for a smile than you might realize: A study published this year determined our brains process emoticons and human faces closely the same way.
Last year, a trio of graduate students at the Florida Institute of Technology conducted a study involving over 100 computer-savvy working professionals to consider two hypothetical messages:
“I can't make the meeting you scheduled because it conflicts with my staff meeting. Email me and let me know what I missed.”
“I can't make the meeting you scheduled because it conflicts with my staff meeting. Email me and let me know what I missed. :-)”
A simple smiley “:-)” alters the tone and helps bypass the reading rage that may arise from a poorly phrased message. According to the study’s participants, adding a smile lessened the sting of what otherwise seemed like a more negative command. Far from labeling emoticons as an infectious disease, the Florida team endorsed them as a handy tool that could "help mitigate cyber aggression and the resulting escalation of conflict" by "clarifying messages and giving the conversation a more 'light-hearted' tone."
On a 2010 experiment it is found out that individuals who received written criticisms from a friend or colleague who used emoticons thought that these individuals have better intentions as compared to those who omitted the smileys. A professor also conducted a study wherein the participants chat online with film buffs and health experts who randomly used or omitted the emoticons. The readers who received smiles in their chats considered their conversational partners friendlier and more competent than the tactless jerks that made no use of the emoticons.
"Back in day, we used to use an emoticon mostly when corresponding via email. But now, the nature of communication has changed," Sriram Kalyanaraman stated, a journalism professor at the University of Florida who focuses on the psychology of new technology. As a result, he added, "the language of communication has changed" and emoticons have "gone into the mass culture."
Who knew that a random combination of symbols can have a massive impact and can actually convey one’s emotion? A 2008 study exposed that people who employ emoticons on their messages experience a "positive effect on enjoyment, personal interaction, perceived information richness, and perceived usefulness." Now, that truly is something to :) about!
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