Husband can’t read your mood? Send him an emoji, as new research shows he’s more likely to understand that than a real facial expression
- Research shows men are more in tune with an emoji than real facial expressions
- Women, on the other hand, are more in tune with expressions on someone’s face
Picking up on subtle changes in a partner’s mood has never really been men’s strong point.
But now new research shows they are so poor at it that they are more likely to understand an emoji than a real facial expression.
Women, on the other hand, are more in tune with what someone’s face is actually telling them.
Previous studies have found men are more at home expressing emotions such as anger, lust or fear through smartphone messages rather than in person.
For the latest study, psychologists at the University of Milano-Bicocca in Milan, Italy, wanted to see if this extended to the use of emoticons – images designed to express how the person is feeling.
New research shows men are more likely to understand an emoji than a real facial expression
With the rise of digital communications, these have become a popular way of depicting mood in a hurry.
They are meant to compensate for the lack of non-verbal clues, such as facial expression, body language or vocal tone.
Researchers recruited 96 male and female university students and got them to glance briefly – for no more than two seconds at a time – at photographs of a man and a woman displaying facial expressions ranging from happy or surprised to angry and disgusted.
They were asked to document what they thought each image meant.
The exercise was then repeated using dozens of different emoticons – such as a scowling red face to depict anger, or a sad face with a tear drop from one eye depicting sorrow.
The results, in the journal Behavioural Science, showed men were much better at judging emoticons correctly than facial appearances, especially when it came to negative feelings like anger, sadness and disgust.
But the women found it much easier to gauge a person’s feelings from the look on their face.
With the rise of digital communications, emojis have become a popular way of depicting mood in a hurry
Scientists think men prefer digital imagery because it is less ambiguous than the real thing – making it easier for them to interpret correctly.
In a report on their findings researchers said: ‘Men have a greater inclination to express their emotions through messaging in cyberspace.
‘But women react more strongly when viewing images involving human beings and show a greater empathic response.’
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