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Have emojis changed the world? Show more Show less

In just two decades, emoji has become ‘the fastest growing language in history’. But are there more complex implications to their popularity? With more than 92% of internet users now using emojis, and billions used every day, do the simple digital pictograms have wider implications for society, relationships and even the way we're hardwired?
Emojis have changed the way that people perceive and respond to each other.
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People subconsciously judge others based on their emoji use.

Research shows that people now make assumptions about other people and their personalities, based on their emoji use.

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Context

Increasingly, research shows that people make assumptions about others based on their emoji use. In turn, this affects the way they interact and behave towards each other.

The Argument

People's emoji use is frequently used to make assumptions about the user's personality and mood. This has real-world implications as it affects choice over who we interact with and how we do so. Issues of accuracy are magnified in studies that show how other factors, such as gender, affect the assumptions being made. For example, a 2019 study by researchers at Southwestern University looked at how the gender of the user affects the conclusions drawn about them. They found that when males use more 'friendly' or 'loving' emojis, they are seen more positively than females sending identical messages. Consequently, there is an inherent bias in the way that emojis are used to draw conclusions about others. These false judgements impact the way people are perceived and therefore, the relationships they have.

Counter arguments

Several studies have shown that assumptions people make about others based on their emoji use are overwhelmingly accurate. Therefore, rather than fundamentally changing human relationships, emojis simply clarify personality 'types' for their audiences. For example, a 2016 study by researchers at the University of Lancaster found that psychological factors largely determine emoji selection. They also found that there are clear patterns within this. For example, social media users who use 'happy' emojis are more likely to be associated with openness and agreeableness. Importantly, the judgement accuracy of their assumptions was largely correct.

Premises

[P1] Emoji use is unique to each individual [P2] People interpret an individual's emoji use as an indication of character [P3] There is inherent bias in any assumption drawn from emoji use [P4] Interpretation of emoji use is not accurate [P3] Human relationships are built on perception of others [P4] Human relationships are affected by individual emoji use

Rejecting the premises

[Rejecting P3] Human relationships are very complex. Emoji use is hardly the only factor that influences perception of others.

References

Content references here ...

Proponents

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This page was last edited on Wednesday, 4 Dec 2019 at 15:42 UTC