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Be careful which emojis you use in your messages – older generations may misunderstand them

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A study with people of different ages came to the conclusion that emojis in text messages are perceived differently. It is believed that the correct interpretation of the smileys depends on several factors.

These days, emojis have become an integral part of text messages. They are often used to emotionally reinforce the content of a message.

A study on emojis (via Plos One) now suggests that their perception depends on different factors. The interpretation of an emoji can be different than you think depending on your age, gender and origin.

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Age could influence the interpretation of emojis

What kind of study is this? Researchers at the University of Nottingham tried to find out what circumstances negatively affect emoji recognition.

The study surveyed over 500 men and women aged between 18 and 84 from the UK and China.

The researchers selected 6 specific emojis for their experiment. They limited the selection to the designs of Apple, Windows, Android and WeChat in order to keep visual differences between the chosen platforms as small as possible.

The participants in the study were asked to assign these emojis to 6 specific names. These were: happy, sad, angry, surprised, afraid and disgusted.

What was the result? When tasked with correctly interpreting the emojis, the researchers differentiated between the demographic factors of age, gender and cultural origin.

They found that older participants in particular had more difficulty giving the correct name. There were minor differences within this group of people due to the different platform designs and the personal experience of individual test subjects.

The younger participants found this task much easier. In addition, women performed better than men when it came to correctly interpreting the emotions of the smileys.

This case of a young student shows the negative impact an emoji can have: A 10-year-old student finds Apple's nerd emoji offensive and has started a petition to have it changed

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