Age, gender, culture, feelings… find out what the emoticons you use say about you

Age, gender, culture, feelings... find out what the emoticons you use say about you

Identifier les bons émojis serait plus facile pour les femmes que pour les hommes, selon une étude. Rawpixel/Getty Images

Emojis have become a universal language in the digital world, allowing emotions and ideas to be conveyed quickly and efficiently.

But did you know that the use of emojis varies considerably depending on the gender, age and culture of Internet users ? This is what reveals a recent study published in the journal Plos One.

Hidden information

The study analyzed the behavior of 523 people (243 Chinese, 270 English, including 51% women and 49% men, aged 18 to 84) according to their gender and age, in China as in the United Kingdom. Participants were asked to choose the emotion corresponding to a series of 24 emojis representing six different facial expressions: joy, disgust, fear, sadness, surprise and anger.

Each of the six emojis studied was represented four times via emoticons from four common platforms (Apple, Android, WeChat and Windows). The results revealed that participants' age, gender, and culture all had a significant impact on their interpretation of emojis. This finding has important implications for the use of emoji in cross-cultural conversations.

First observation, “the older the participants were, the less their interpretations corresponded to the labels of surprise, fear, sadness and anger emojis”, indicates the press release. Young people would be better able to accurately recognize the emotions of emoticons.

A story of feelings

When it comes to gender, women tend to be better at distinguishing feelings from emojis, whether they be joy, anger, fear, or sadness. sadness. Regarding the “surprised" and "disgusted", women are as successful as men in identifying them.

The two sexes would analyze differently, but with equal precision, the expressions of the lower and upper parts of the face: "Identification of surprise requires the treatment of the upper parts (the eyes) and the lower parts (the nose). and mouth) of the face (…) women are more likely to look at the eyes and men at the mouth, which may translate into similar accuracy in identifying expressions of surprise for both sexes .", explains the study.

According to the study, the Chinese participants were less precise than their English counterparts. The latter still added that the Chinese could use emojis in a different way than the majority.

If the 'smile" symbolizes joy for most, for the Chinese this emoji is often used for sarcastic purposes. "Inhabitants of the East tend to refer to the same thing with totally different emojis than those in the West", the study points out.

The researchers nevertheless qualify by emphasizing the interest in exploring this subject further: "In our study, we did not ask the participants for demographic information other than gender, age and culture. In the future, it would be interesting to consider a more detailed profile of the participants, including other individual differences that might be relevant to facial emotion recognition ability.

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