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All you ever wanted to know about Emojis but were afraid to ask.

You may have thought that emojis are just for fun, but now scientists are getting beyond the laughing smiling face of emojis to discover their role in emotions, expression and communication.

More than 90 per cent of people use emojis and emoticons. Studies have found that emojis can help with cross-cultural communication, communication with children and those with special needs.

Emojis also provide insights into user personalities. Psychologists are researching how emojis and emoticons function as tools for expression - and finding that they are a form of digital body language.

In face-to-face communication, verbal and nonverbal cues (like facial movements, voice pitch, and shaking fists for example) are essential to understanding the meaning of what we are communicating.

"We mostly use emojis like gestures, as a way of enhancing emotional expressions," says cyberpsychologist Linda Kaye, at Edge Hill University talking to Gizmodo. "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."

Research also shows that propensity to use emoticons may actually be more about personality type than age. A 2014 survey of 1,000 people in the US showed only 54 per cent of emoticon users were 18 to 34.

"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 says.

Psychologists also want to use online data to understand how communicating via emojis and emoticons can provide insights into social inclusion. Depending on how we use emojis, these simple displays of virtual emotion can impact how we perceive each other.

"People are making judgments about us based on how we use emojis, and they're not necessarily accurate," Kaye says. "What we need to be aware of is that those judgments might differ depending on where or with whom you're using those emojis, such as in the workplace or between family members.


Sentiment of Emojis.

Abstract: There is a new generation of emoticons, called emojis, that is increasingly being used in mobile communications and social media. In the past two years, over ten billion emojis were used on Twitter. Emojis are Unicode graphic symbols, used as a shorthand to express concepts and ideas. In contrast to the small number of well-known emoticons that carry clear emotional contents, there are hundreds of emojis. But what are their emotional contents? We provide the first emoji sentiment lexicon, called the Emoji Sentiment Ranking, and draw a sentiment map of the 751 most frequently used emojis. The sentiment of the emojis is computed from the sentiment of the tweets in which they occur. We engaged 83 human annotators to label over 1.6 million tweets in 13 European languages by the sentiment polarity (negative, neutral, or positive). About 4% of the annotated tweets contain emojis. The sentiment analysis of the emojis allows us to draw several interesting conclusions. It turns out that most of the emojis are positive, especially the most popular ones. The sentiment distribution of the tweets with and without emojis is significantly different. The inter-annotator agreement on the tweets with emojis is higher. Emojis tend to occur at the end of the tweets, and their sentiment polarity increases with the distance. We observe no significant differences in the emoji rankings between the 13 languages and the Emoji Sentiment Ranking. Consequently, we propose our Emoji Sentiment Ranking as a European language-independent resource for automated sentiment analysis. Finally, the paper provides a formalization of sentiment and a novel visualization in the form of a sentiment bar.

Pub.: 08 Dec '15, Pinned: 05 Jun '17

Lisbon Emoji and Emoticon Database (LEED): Norms for emoji and emoticons in seven evaluative dimensions.

Abstract: The use of emoticons and emoji is increasingly popular across a variety of new platforms of online communication. They have also become popular as stimulus materials in scientific research. However, the assumption that emoji/emoticon users' interpretations always correspond to the developers'/researchers' intended meanings might be misleading. This article presents subjective norms of emoji and emoticons provided by everyday users. The Lisbon Emoji and Emoticon Database (LEED) comprises 238 stimuli: 85 emoticons and 153 emoji (collected from iOS, Android, Facebook, and Emojipedia). The sample included 505 Portuguese participants recruited online. Each participant evaluated a random subset of 20 stimuli for seven dimensions: aesthetic appeal, familiarity, visual complexity, concreteness, valence, arousal, and meaningfulness. Participants were additionally asked to attribute a meaning to each stimulus. The norms obtained include quantitative descriptive results (means, standard deviations, and confidence intervals) and a meaning analysis for each stimulus. We also examined the correlations between the dimensions and tested for differences between emoticons and emoji, as well as between the two major operating systems-Android and iOS. The LEED constitutes a readily available normative database (available at www.osf.io/nua4x ) with potential applications to different research domains.

Pub.: 02 Apr '17, Pinned: 05 Jun '17