Rice University researchers have found that women are twice as likely as men to use emoticons in text messages.
The study used smartphone data taken from about 124,000 text messages from men and women over a six-month period. The participants were given free iPhones to use for the test period, but were not told what the researchers were studying. "We believe that our study represents the first naturalistic and longitudinal study that collects real emoticon use from text messages 'in the wild,'" says Rice professor Philip Kortum.
During the study, all of the participants used emoticons at least once, but just four percent of the total number of text messages examined contained an emoticon. "Texting does not appear to require as much socio-emotional context as other means of nonverbal communications," Kortum notes. The researchers also found that although women use emoticons more often than men, men use a wider variety of emoticons to express themselves. During the experiment, 74 different emoticons were used but the top three emoticons, those used to symbolize happy, sad, and very happy, made up 70 percent of the total emoticons sent by the participants.
From Rice University
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