Why Do Emoticons Make Us Happy?

Why Do Emoticons Make Us Happy?

By Lindsay Ferro & Yvonne Rush In our previous blog about the IIDA Fashion Show, you read about how we were inspired by emoticons for our “upbeat” garment. We knew emoticons (or emojis) made us happy based off our own experiences with them. We smile and laugh all of the time when one of our coworkers Lync messages us anything from a wave , a facepalm , a happy smiley , or a hugging bear  because we can relate to their feelings and we appreciate their sentiment. We often communicate with our friends and families with just emojis or add them to help others read our texts as we meant them. But is there a science as to why we love emojis? Well as designers, we love research and concept, so we took to the web to find out… First, people need social interaction.1 Even if you’re Mr. Cynical and don’t like anyone, humans often experience significant physical and psychological problems without face to face communication, especially positive interactions. When we interact in person, we use many non-verbal ques and tones. Some more evident than others- crossed arms, rolled eyes, frown, smile, raised voice, etc. These ques help us to better communicate what we are saying, as well as build an emotional bond with those we are communicating with. When communicating via text, web, or email, we cannot as easily express the sentiments behind our sentences. Each person has unique experiences and personalities and will read the same sentence differently.1 We all know someone who can read “Ok.” in a text response, and instantly think the other person is being short because they’re angry or don’t care, but what if they received, “Ok. :)” instead? Well, researchers are finding that our mood changes when we see certain emoticons. We mimic our counterpart’s expressions with emoticons the same way we do with personal interaction.2 The more graphic the emoticon, the more our brain responds:  is quicker & easier to process than ;). 1 It is also more visual and catches the eye. An additional benefit to communicating with emoticons, is especially evident in those with social anxiety. Many people struggle to communicate with others, especially in large crowds. Their fear and anxiety often doesn’t let them show what they’re really trying to say, but behind a screen, they are able to remove the cloak of fear and communicate with words and expressions.3 Of course, we know this to be good and bad, but we’re focusing on the happy here people! So what’s the conclusion? Emoji’s are awesome and we should use them! They do indeed make those you’re conversing with happy and help them understand you better. 🙂 ♥♫ Resources:

  1. http://blog.crew.co/emoji-love-the-science-behind-emoticons/
  2. https://blog.bufferapp.com/7-reasons-use-emoticons-writing-social-media-according-science
  3. Pierce, Tamyra.”Social anxiety and technology: Face-to-face communication versus technological communication among teens.” Computers in Human Behavior (2009): 1367-1372. Digital

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