Interactions between text content and emoji types determine perceptions of both messages and senders

Christopher J. Hand*, Kassandra Burd, Alex Oliver, Christopher M. Robus

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Citations (Scopus)
303 Downloads (Pure)


Emoji increasingly feature alongside written language in interpersonal communication. Boutet et al. (2021) showed that negative-face emoji led to a negativity effect on perceptions of message tone and senders' mood. We extended their design, considering the role of non-face emoji and the impact of text content and emoji on message clarity. We utilised a 3 (sentence valence: negative, neutral, positive) × 5 (emoji type: no emoji, negative face, neutral face, positive face, object emoji) quasi-experimental design and online survey method. Sixty participants each processed 60 stimuli counterbalanced across conditions, rating messages' emotional tone and clarity, and senders’ warmth and emotional state. Cumulative link mixed models were used to analyse responses. We found that sentence valence and emoji type interact, influencing message emotionality and clarity, and perceived sender warmth and state. The congruency of text and emoji was particularly important; results showed that incongruent emoji detracted from message clarity vs. no emoji (or congruent emoji). Congruent emoji typically amplified emotional perceptions of messages and senders. Object emoji were most influential when text was either neutral or positive. Results were consistent with models such as the EASI framework (Van Kleef, 2009), and suggest that compositionality extends to representations of text + emoji.
Original languageEnglish
Article number100242
JournalComputers in Human Behavior Reports
Early online date13 Oct 2022
Publication statusPublished - 18 Oct 2022


  • communication
  • comprehension
  • emoji
  • emotion
  • impression formation
  • reading

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Artificial Intelligence
  • Cognitive Neuroscience
  • Human-Computer Interaction
  • Neuroscience (miscellaneous)
  • Applied Psychology
  • Computer Science Applications


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