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NextGen Magazine


Study: Don't Use Smiley Faces in Work Emails

Chris Gaetano
Published Date:
Aug 25, 2017

A recent study has found that you may wanna hold off on adding ":-)" to the end of your work emails, as this makes people take you less seriously, according to CNBC. The study, published in the Journal of Psychology and Social Science, said that while smiling in real life tends to lead people to think you're warmer and more competent, smileys in electronic communications have the opposite effect: they decrease perceptions of competence. While context and formality can mitigate this effect somewhat, in general the study found that smileys are generally not looked favorably upon in a professional environment. 

"Our findings provide first-time evidence that, contrary to actual smiles, smileys do not increase perceptions of warmth and actually decrease perceptions of competence. Perceptions of low competence in turn undermined information sharing. The adverse effects of smiley use are moderated by the formality of the social context and mediated by perceptions of message appropriateness. These results indicate that a smiley is not a smile. The findings have implications for theorizing on the social functionality of virtual emotional expressions," said the study abstract.