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Use of emoticons. Pixabay
  • The research reveals that smiling in person is a sign of warmth and confidence
  • A smiley is not a smile in case of formal writings
  • The mail recipient is more inclined to assume that the sender of the email was a woman, if the mail from the sender whose gender was unknown, included an emoji

Washington D.C. [USA], Aug 16, 2017: A recent research reveals that using emoticons or smileys in professional domains, that is, in formal mails might be taken as the incompetence of the user. Using emoji in professional writing may create a negative impression.

According to the reports of ANI, the results of the study explains the context behind the statement. It states that smiling in person is a sign of warmth and confidence, but when it comes to using smileys in formal spaces, it does not concern warmth at all, rather is decoded as the user being incompetent.


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A ‘smiley’ is not a smile in the case of formal writings. The emoticons do not enhance the notions of warmth, but puts in doubt the level of competence of the user; Dr. Ella Glikson, a researcher at the Ben Gurion University of the Negev at Beersheba in Israel, has stated according to ANI. She has said that the results provide the first such evidence ever regarding the usage of emoji in formal mails.

According to ANI reports, researchers of the Amsterdam University, Haifa University, and BGU, had conducted a study based on the use of emoticons in formal mails, with 549 participants spreading across 29 various nations.

Reportedly, the participants of the study were given a task to evaluate and rate the warmth and the competence that a person possesses after reading minutely a professional e-mail related to work, sent from an unknown person. All who participated have received the similar kind of texts, within which some included emoji and the rest did not.

According to the reports, it has been observed that the answers of the participants included details on content and professional information when were asked to respond to formal mails, when the mail did not include any emoji.

Reportedly, it was also found that the mail recipients were more inclined to assume that the sender of the email was a woman, if the mail from the sender whose gender was unknown, included an emoji.

Dr Glikson was quoted as saying, “People tend to assume that a smiley is a virtual smile, but the findings of this study show that in the case of the workplace, at least as far as initial ‘encounters’ are concerned, this is incorrect.”

The researchers further suggested that it is good to avoid the usage of emoticons and smileys, regardless of one’s gender or age, during the initial formal interactions, ANI reported.

The results of the research have appeared in a journal ‘Social Psychological and Personality Science.’


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