The Psychology of Emojis

Have you ever noticed how chatting with your friends through texts sometimes does not convey your tone the way talking to them face-to-face does? You must have also noticed that when you want to convey your message, you often use emojis to bring a certain tone and emotional context into the conversation.

The tone of your voice, your gestures, and your expressions are really important because, according to research, 55% of human communication is done through body language. This is also called silent or non-verbal communication. Thus, in the digital world, conveying your tone, expressions and gestures can be done through the use of emojis.

Emojis help greatly with non-verbal communication, so much so that they have taken over verbal communication entirely. This is due to the fact that humans have a habit of mimicking each other’s emotions when they are talking. This is called emotional contagion and is part of what helps people bond together through communicating. This is where emojis help in the digital world.

Research suggests that looking at a face emoji or emoticon activates the same part of our brain as when we look at a real human facial expression. This started with the human brain also recognizing emoticons made from punctuations, such as the famous smiley face with a nose “:-)” made with a colon, hyphen and parentheses. But when the face was inverted like so “(-:”, it did not activate that part of the brain.

Texts alone are emotionless, expressionless and thus robotic and monotonous. This is why the hand gestures, face emojis and heart emojis are the ones used extensively. Therefore, in order to communicate clearly, using emoticons and emojis helps you more than you think.

This changing speech pattern, processed and recognized by our brains as non-verbal communication, can also help you in your marketing strategies. This is due to the fact that emojis capture the attention of your audience and convey your message through the use of non-verbal cues. They help increase engagement, increase communication, give your brand a personality, and even bring in a visual element 🤩!

Brands like IKEA, Burger King, PETA, and many others have successfully used emojis in their marketing strategy. No matter what your audience persona is, you can incorporate the suitable emojis and bring your social media marketing to a new level! 🥳

This is the basic psychology behind emojis, how they cater to people’s emotional side and help us convey messages with accuracy, and how this leads to helping technology create a stronger bond between people instead of acting as a barrier between everyone.

Zahra Rehman

Social science undergrad and amateur artist who has a soft spot for cats, dogs and philosophy.

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