Emojis and emoticons have replaced non-verbal cues like facial movements, voice pitch and other gestures to clarify a message on social media platforms like Facebook, WhatsApp or Instagram, a study has found.
More than 90 percent of online population uses emojis and emoticons into their texts and emails. Researchers from the Edge Hill University in Britain found that emojis and emoticons are now being used frequently as visual aids to clarify and understand a message.
‘Emojis and emoticons are now being used frequently as visual aids to clarify and understand a message.’
"We mostly use emojis like gestures, as a way of enhancing emotional expressions," said Linda Kaye, a cyberpsychologist at Edge Hill.
"There are a lot of idiosyncrasies in how we gesture and emojis are similar to that, especially because of the discrepancies as to how and why we use them," Kaye added.
The data available with the researchers can be used to understand how communicating through emojis and emoticons can provide insights into social inclusion.
Manifestation of these virtual emotions can impact how we perceive each other.
"If you look at personality traits, like agreeableness, how amenable you are to other people, it seems to be related to whether you use emojis or not," Kaye added.
People may not be necessarily accurate when they make judgments based on how they see others using emojis.
"What we need to be aware of is that those judgments might differ depending on where or with whom you are using those emojis, such as in the workplace or between family members," noted the study published in the journal Trends in Cognitive Sciences.