Are you your most frequently used emojis?

This past January (’19) I was visiting my brother in New York City. I was talking to his roommate about Emojis and he told me something interesting about a girl he had a brief fling with. He told me how when he first met this girl he told me he remembered seeing her most used emojis, all of which were negative such as the angry face spewing profanities (insert emoji here). He commented on what he saw to which the girl responded with a glare and uncomfortable laugh. Now, her bizarre reaction should have set off my brother’s roommates brain alarm; however, as a 25-year-old boy, he was more preoccupied with “getting some” from the hot girl down the hall. Eventually, he lucked out and the girl moved to a new building far away never to be seen again. But, why am I telling you about some girl my brother’s roommate was hooking up with? Well, because when he told me about this extended encounter, he told me about the negative emojis he saw that very first day. He told me he should have realized how indicative those emojis were of her personality which was largely negative and pessimistic. She would often complain or talk about her friends as if they were her enemies. She was never happy, always harping on one thing or another. In short, she was a combination of her most frequently used emojis.

I found my brother’s roommates story so compelling I could not rid it from my mind. It made me question how personal emotional affect (mine and others’) can be conveyed through the emojis one chooses to use most often.

In order to try and understand how our most frequently used emojis could, in effect, loosely define us, I created a (very) generalized list and enlisted my friends who I’ve known since freshmen year (four years ago). I asked each of them to send me a screenshot of their most frequently used emojis via a group text. The following screenshots were all received within minutes of each other.

I created six general categories and chose what I considered the most fitting personality describing word from each category:

  • Positive/Negative
  • Direct/Passive
  • Extrovert/Introvert
  • Low Neuroticism/High Neuroticism
  • Agreeable/Stubborn
  • Rational/Irrational

*Disclaimer: The following considerations are based on my personal knowledge of the person listed below. I chose the words from the following list I feel describes them more than the other word. Names have been changed and are based on nicknames. All were born female and identify as female. I did not look at any screenshots until after labeling each friend. Please consider all biases before continuing.

[Sleazy]

Personal opinion:

  • Positive/Negative
  • Direct/Passive
  • Extrovert/Introvert
  • Low Neuroticism/High Neuroticism
  • Agreeable/Stubborn
  • Rational/Irrational

Most frequently used emojis (as of 3.2.19):

[Erms]

Personal opinion:

  • Positive/Negative
  • Direct/Passive
  • Extrovert/Introvert
  • Low Neuroticism/High Neuroticism
  • Agreeable/Stubborn
  • Rational/Irrational

Most frequently used emojis (as of 3.2.19):

[G-Money]

Personal opinion:

  • Positive/Negative
  • Direct/Passive
  • Extrovert/Introvert
  • Low Neuroticism/High Neuroticism
  • Agreeable/Stubborn
  • Rational/Irrational

Most frequently used emojis (as of 3.2.19):

[Cool Gal]

Personal opinion:

  • Positive/Negative
  • Direct/Passive
  • Extrovert/Introvert
  • Low Neuroticism/High Neuroticism
  • Agreeable/Stubborn
  • Rational/Irrational

Most frequently used emojis (as of 3.2.19):

[Herb]

Personal opinion:

  • Positive/Negative
  • Direct/Passive
  • Extrovert/Introvert
  • Low Neuroticism/High Neuroticism
  • Agreeable/Stubborn
  • Rational/Irrational

Most frequently used emojis (as of 3.2.19):

[Livy]

Personal opinion:

  • Positive/Negative
  • Direct/Passive
  • Extrovert/Introvert
  • Low Neuroticism/High Neuroticism
  • Agreeable/Stubborn
  • Rational/Irrational

Most frequently used emojis (as of 3.2.19):

[ER]

Personal opinion:

  • Positive/Negative
  • Direct/Passive
  • Extrovert/Introvert
  • Low Neuroticism/High Neuroticism
  • Agreeable/Stubborn
  • Rational/Irrational

Most frequently used emojis (as of 3.2.19):

[Poody Pie]

Personal opinion:

  • Positive/Negative
  • Direct/Passive
  • Extrovert/Introvert
  • Low Neuroticism/High Neuroticism
  • Agreeable/Stubborn
  • Rational/Irrational

Most frequently used emojis (as of 3.2.19):

[Analysis]

Although limited by personal bias and small homogeneous sample size, those I labeled as more positive ALL have the red heart emoji as there most frequently used emoji. In contrast, those I deemed more negative had facial expressions as there most used emoji. Over time I will be adding to this post with more info. However, for now, I consider these findings very interesting as after examining my friends most frequently used emojis with my preconceived opinions of said friends, I am able to see at least some slight consistencies.

Future research should quantify this research as a means of seeing if significant correlations exist between number of positive and negative emoticons used and overall self-perceived and other-perceived personal effect. This would allow possible statistically significant correlations to be identified between emoticon use and general emotional effect.

While researching the topic of emoticons, I stumbled upon an interesting finding: As emoticon use becomes more prevalent, neuroscientists are seeing changes in how our brains process images such as “🙂.” Owen Churches, a psychologist at Flinders University in Australia who headed this study on emoticon processing, said “Thirty years ago, this activation of face-selective areas in the brain would not have been seen when 🙂 was presented… “But our world has changed and so have we.”

In closing I would like to pose a question:

Do you think you can tell a person’s overall emotional affect based on their most frequently used emojis?

Sources:



2 thoughts on “Are you your most frequently used emojis?

  1. Even before I had read this article or seen the title, I’ve thought about emojis as a way to identify a person’s personality and not only in the emojis they use, but if they use any at all. I am a person who uses emojis frequently because I find texting to be such a difficult way to communicate. Emotion or sarcasm is very difficult to read through words on a screen, so I find that emojis are an easy way to either lighten the mood or put across the right emotion for a text so it isn’t perceived incorrectly. Therefore, when I start texting someone new and they don’t use emojis, I find it really difficult to read their emotion. I often get a cold feeling from messaging them and feel as though they don’t want to talk to me. The difference in how I perceive texts with and without emojis can indicate the growing connection we have to these faces and symbols as a way to push across our emotions in such a robotic world.

    Like

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