Rice University Finds Women Are Twice as Likely Than Men to Use Text Message Emoticons

A new study by researchers at Rice University finds that women are far more likely than men to use emoticons in their text messages than men. Emoticons are symbols made up of letters and punctuation marks that when rotated 90 degrees represent facial expressions conveying a person’s mood or temperament. An example would be the use of ; – ) to represent a wink.

Researchers examined text messages over a six-month period. More than 124,000 text messages were looked at to see if emoticons were used and how often they were used. The results showed that while almost all texters used emoticons, only about 4 percent of all text messages used the symbols. In the 124,000 messages analyzed, 74 different emoticons were used with happy, sad, and very happy, (:-D) being the most widely used. Women were found to use emoticons twice as often as men.

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