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Study found people use emojis to mask feelings

Study found emojis used to mask negative feelings
Study found emojis used to mask negative feelings 01:36

MIAMI - There's a good chance you've already sent or received one today.....we're talking about emojis, those interactive icons designed to help us express our feelings.

But a new study suggests they're doing just the opposite.

Moyu Liu, an emotional behavior expert at the University of Tokyo, led the study in Japan analyzing whether the emojis people send really show how they really feel.

"We need those yellow faces to help us to express," she said.

Researchers studied the emoji interactions of more than 1,200 volunteers and found happy emojis were often used to mask negative emotions to make a message seem more positive.

"Personally, I have done this before," Liu said. "Maybe I think people are doing the same thing with me!"

The study involved participants who were mostly female and aged 11 to 26. It found people were most likely to fake their feelings when talking to people of higher social status or in a group chat versus a one-on-one.

Researchers found a possible link between those who hid their feelings and mental health - although they caution this is a small study and more research needs to be done.

"Our research found managing emotions using those emojis can be weakly associated with depressive symptoms," said Liu.

So, the next time you're faced with a screen full of emojis, experts suggest choosing one that truly matches your mood.

A 2022 Adobe trend report revealed the top favorite emojis for Americans. The crying while laughing emoji topped the list, followed by the thumbs up, heart, rolling on the floor laughing, and the sad emoji with a tear drop.

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