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Autism, Attachment, and Alexithymia: Investigating Emoji Comprehension

Taylor, Hannah; Hand, Christopher J; Howman, Hannah; Filik, Ruth

Autism, Attachment, and Alexithymia: Investigating Emoji Comprehension Thumbnail


Hannah Taylor

Christopher J Hand

Hannah Howman

Associate Professor


Emoji are often misinterpreted. This study investigated whether individual differences known to impact facial emotion recognition would also affect emoji recognition. Participants completed an online emoji classification task, and then completed questionnaires assessing their autistic traits, attachment style, and alexithymia score. Results showed that Autism Quotient (AQ) scores influenced classification accuracy, but only when considered in conjunction with alexithymia and attachment anxiety. Accuracy was poorer when AQ scores and alexithymia scores were both high, whereas high attachment anxiety boosted emotion recognition in participants with high AQ scores. Results highlight the importance of studying individual differences factors concomitantly, allowing for more accurate identification of individuals who may be at risk of emotional miscommunication online, and are therefore suitable targets for support or intervention. Furthermore, findings will be informative for designers of digital tools that are used to convey emotion.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Nov 30, 2022
Online Publication Date Dec 22, 2022
Publication Date May 2, 2024
Deposit Date Dec 1, 2022
Publicly Available Date Dec 23, 2023
Journal International Journal of Human-Computer Interaction
Print ISSN 1044-7318
Electronic ISSN 1532-7590
Publisher Taylor and Francis
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 40
Issue 9
Pages 2211-2224
Public URL
Publisher URL


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