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Using smiley emoji makes you seem incompetent, claims uptight study

Photo: Ben Gabbe/Getty Images

Flying in the face of everything Robby from Accounts Payable thought he knew about emails, it turns out that new evidence suggests using smiley emoji in your work correspondence may not be the best idea. Discover Magazine reports a new study conducted by researchers in Israel and The Netherlands found that the use of those smirking little yellow bastards in your professional communication is not only not conveying a happy smile, it’s actually having unintended effects that are definitely affecting whether you’re getting invited to happy hour at Señor Grumpy’s on Thursday after the specs compliance meeting.

“The Dark Side of a Smiley: Effects of Smiling Emoticons on Virtual First Impressions” is an academic paper published in the journal Social Psychological And Personality Science which claims using smiley emoji is backfiring, at least when it comes to first impressions. Conducting three experiments of ”virtual first impressions in work-related contexts,” the researchers found that, “contrary to actual smiles, smileys do not increase perceptions of warmth and actually decrease perceptions of competence.” This perception of incompetence then negatively impacted information sharing, meaning that Bob will think twice before he shares that adorable video of gerbils eating pizza with you. In sum, the study concludes, “a smiley is not a smile,” which is both the actual result of a scientific study in 2017 and a statement that will ensure at least 40 minutes of staring at the ceiling in contemplation if you are a very stoned college sophomore.


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