English Research Paper

Assessing the Meaning of Emojis for Emotional Awareness – A Pilot Study

Emoji 2019 - Workshop on Emoji Understanding and Applications in Social Media |


Emojis are increasingly being used in today’s social communication – both formally in team messaging systems as well as informally via text messages on phones. Besides being used in social communication, emojis might also be a suitable mechanism for emotion (self-)assessment. Indeed, emojis can be expected to be familiar to people of different social groups and do not depend on the mastery of a specific language. However, emojis could be interpreted very differently from their actual intent. In order to determine whether people interpret emojis (specific to emotional states) in a consistent manner, we conducted an online survey on nine emojis with 386 people. The results show that the emojis representing anger, sadness, joy, surprise, and neutral state are interpreted as they were intended, independent of age and gender. Interpretations of other emojis such as Unamused Face and Face Screaming in Fear depend on age, and thus are not as useful for probing for emotion in a study setting unless all participants belong to the same age category. The Face with Rolling Eyes emoji is interpreted differently by gender and finally the Nauseated Face emoji resulted in no conclusive interpretation.