A case for emojis, more or less: An analysis of word and emoji expressivity in text messaging for high and low alexithymia levels

Article


Allan, H and Budd, M. 2023. A case for emojis, more or less: An analysis of word and emoji expressivity in text messaging for high and low alexithymia levels. Computers in Human Behavior. 147 (Art. 107845). https://doi.org/10.1016/j.chb.2023.107845
AuthorsAllan, H and Budd, M.
Abstract

The impact of alexithymia on verbal and non-verbal expressivity was investigated in one of the most prevalent mediums for present-day human interacting, smartphone text messaging. The variety of words and emojis used to express negative, neutral and positive feelings was compared between people with higher and lower levels of alexithymia measured by the Perth Alexithymia Questionnaire, controlling for covariates anxiety and depression. Verbal expressivity was not impacted by higher levels of alexithymia, for total scores nor by subscale. Non-verbal expressivity for high-level alexithymia showed differences in variety of emoji on two subscales: compared to low-level alexithymia, higher scores on difficulty describing negative feelings used greater variety of emojis when describing negative feelings, while higher scores on externally oriented thinking used less variety of emojis when describing positive feelings. This may be related to greater and lesser interoceptive ability. Further research is warranted. Findings support facet-level over total scores analyses in informing more nuanced understandings of the impacts of alexithymia in interpersonal communication. They suggest that text messaging may attenuate the impacts of the verbal deficits associated with higher-level alexithymia and that emoji use may be more sensitive to specific alexithymic difficulties in particular valence contexts.

KeywordsEmoji; Alexithymia; Emotional expressivity; Interoception; Text messaging; Computer-mediated communication
JournalComputers in Human Behavior
Journal citation147 (Art. 107845)
ISSN 0747-5632
Year2023
PublisherElsevier
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Anyone
Supplemental file
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Anyone
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)https://doi.org/10.1016/j.chb.2023.107845
Publication dates
Online26 Jun 2023
Print07 Jul 2023
Publication process dates
Accepted11 Jun 2023
Deposited30 Oct 2023
Copyright holder© 2023, The Authors
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