Emoticons and social interaction on the Internet: the importance of social context

Daantje Derks*, Arjan E. R. Bos, Jasper von Grumbkow

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

    132 Citations (Web of Science)


    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.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)842-849
    Number of pages8
    JournalComputers in Human Behavior
    Issue number1
    Publication statusPublished - Jan 2007


    • emoticons
    • emotions
    • social interaction
    • social context
    • Internet


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