“As online socialization becomes more prevalent, people have become accustomed to embellishing their expressions and checking the appropriateness of their communications,” said Moyu Liu from the University of Tokyo.
, “However, I realized that this can cause us to lose touch with our authentic feelings.”
Liu recruited 1,289 participants, all users of Shimeji, the most downloaded emoji keyboard in Japan, to examine how emoji are used to express or hide emotion. Previous research had established that people use emoji as functional equivalents of facial expressions, but not the relationship between expressed and experienced emotion. This is when performance rules can prove problematic: If the dissonance between the feelings you experience and the feelings you express is too great, emotional exhaustion can develop, although members of different cultures report it differently. experience differently.
Display rules have a greater impact on negative emotions, which are generally considered less appropriate to express. It is often more acceptable to express feelings for someone you are closer to, and it may be more acceptable to express particular feelings for a particular gender. Expressing negative emotions may also be considered more acceptable in more individualistic societies.
wear your heart on your screen
Participants in Liu’s study provided demographic data, answered questions about their subjective well-being and rated how often they used emoji. They were presented with messages with different social contexts, responded as they normally would, and the intensity of their emotion expression was rated.
Liu found that people tend to express more emotion with emoji in private contexts or with close friends. Respondents expressed minimal feelings towards high status individuals. Until people felt the need to cover up their real feelings, intense expression of emotion came with matching emoji: for example, using a smiling emoji to hide negative emotion. Negative emoji were used only where negative feelings were felt very strongly. Expressing emotion with emoji was associated with higher subjective well-being compared to hiding emotion.
“With online socializing becoming more and more prevalent, it is important to consider whether it is disconnecting us from our true feelings,” Liu said. “Do people need a ‘shelter’ to express their true feelings, and is it possible to break free of pretense and share our true selves in online settings?”
Liu stresses that the study should be expanded in the future. The Shimeji keyboard is extremely popular among young women, skewing the sample towards females and Generation Z. However, it also reflects a gender imbalance in the use of emoji in general and the Simeji keyboard in particular. A wider pool of participants will provide a more complete picture of the display rules around emojis.
“First, the robust results may be due to the highly gender-imbalanced sample. Future research should explore potential gender differences in emoji display rules and examine the structural issues surrounding the formation of these emotion cultures,” Liu said. warned. “Second, Japanese culture’s emphasis on interpersonal harmony and hiding negative emotions may have influenced the results.”
“I would welcome the opportunity to extend this study and examine the display rules of emoji across different genders and cultures,” Liu said. “Collaboration with scholars from diverse cultural backgrounds will be invaluable in this endeavor, and I look forward to any contacts.”Life Style