The present study examines the influence of social context on the use of emoticons in Internet communication. Secondary school students (N = 158) responded to short internet chats. Social context (task-oriented vs. socio-emotional) and valence of the context (positive vs. negative) were manipulated in these chats. Participants were permitted to respond with text, emoticon or a combination of both. Results showed that participants used more emoticons in socio-emotional than in task-oriented social contexts. Furthermore, students used more positive emoticons in positive contexts and more negative emoticons in negative contexts. An interaction was found between valence and kind of context; in negative, task-oriented contexts subjects used the least emoticons. Results are related to research about the expression of emotions in face-to-face interaction. (c) 2004 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
- social interaction
- social context
- COMPUTER-MEDIATED COMMUNICATION
- ELECTRONIC MAIL