Research from a Scottish university shows interesting facts about emojis

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A STUDY conducted by the University of Edinburgh has revealed perceived opinions on emojis.

The research, which was funded by the UK Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council, shows that yellow emojis are seen as being used by white people as opposed to being neutral symbols of identity.

The study is the first to examine how people determine aspects of other’ identity based on the use of emojis on social media and via text messages.

The study found that yellow emojis are more associated with white people as opposed to being neutral - Scottish News
Photo by Denis Cherkashin on Unsplash
The study found that yellow emojis are more associated with white people as opposed to being neutral.

In the study conducted by the University of Edinburgh, almost 500 participants took part, half self-identified as Black and the other half as white.

The participants were shown text messages, some showing yellow emojis and others included lighter and darker skin-toned emojis.

The researchers found that dark and light toned emojis were clear determinant of the sender’s ethnicity.

A darker-toned emoji led to both black and while groups to select a black author for 80 per cent of the time, likewise for lighter-toned emojis where 80 per cent chose a white author.

The researchers also found that the presence of an emoji can change the way readers perceive a message.

The results also highlight that neutral options of emojis carry social meanings which can be advantageous to some groups over others.

The study also found that emojis carry social meanings - Scottish News
Photo by wu yi on Unsplash
The study also found that emojis carry social meanings.

Dr Alexander Robertson, of the University of Edinburgh’s School of Informatics, who co-led the study, said: “That people appear to use emojis both to express their own ethnicity and to understand the identity of others undoubtedly affects how they react to content containing emojis.

“This could influence things like how likely they are to believe or share certain content with others. Further research could offer important insights into sociolinguistics and areas like the spread of disinformation.”

Previous research has shown that people use skin-tone emojis as a way of representing their identity, which became widely available in 2015, but there was no research into how people interpret emojis that others use.

The study will be presented at the 24th ACM Conference on Computer-Supported Cooperative Work and Social Computing.