Why do we use icons?

The results of the analyzes are presented in the pages Frontiers in Psychology. The conclusions drawn wouldn’t be surprising, especially for people who happen to suppress negative emotions in daily life and show a “satisfied face” instead. Of course, such behavior can have a negative impact on the condition of one or the other party, or even both at the same time.

Read also: Children with autism see this illustration in a specific way. New research explains why

The researchers wanted to understand whether people tend to act similarly when communicating online. To this end, they invited 1,289 participants using Simeji, an emoji keyboard extremely popular in Japan, to take part in an experiment. One aspect of the study was to observe how these people used emoticons to express or hide their emotions.

It has already been proven in the past that emoji are equivalent to facial expressions. However, previous research has not focused on the relationship between the emotions being expressed and those actually being experienced at a given moment. However, we can assume that significant and frequent differences between what we actually feel and what we communicate to the interlocutor may negatively affect our well-being.

To understand how we use emoticons, researchers analyzed the behavior of nearly 1,300 people

As noted by the authors of the aforementioned post, people who send messages to people they know well often use emoticons. On the other side of the barrier were those with higher status than the participants in the experiment. It also happened that respondents used inappropriate emoji to hide their actual feelings, for example by sending a smile despite feeling sad.

The use of negative emotions only occurred when the participants’ emotions were clearly negative. However, it is not clear whether reliable conclusions can be drawn based on the analyzes performed. First, the study participants came from Japan, where hiding emotions is very common. In addition, Simeji keyboard is more popular among women than among men, which is why the research sample may be unreliable.

Read also: Medication is not always necessary. Early depression can be managed in a much simpler way

However, the hypothesis that we use emojis to hide our true feelings—as well as smile at people we don’t like—is undoubtedly very likely. However, while in everyday life we ​​use facial expressions to achieve this goal, thanks to technological development we can wear masks even at a distance. So it seems the motivation is still the same, but the tools we use are changing.

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