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Individual differences in emoji comprehension: Gender, age, and culture

Chen, Yihua; Yang, Xingchen; Howman, Hannah; Filik, Ruth

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Yihua Chen

Xingchen Yang

Hannah Howman

Associate Professor


Stefano Triberti


Emoji are an important substitute for non-verbal cues (such as facial expressions) in online written communication. So far, however, little is known about individual differences regarding how they are perceived. In the current study, we examined the influence of gender, age, and culture on emoji comprehension. Specifically, a sample of 523 participants across the UK and China completed an emoji classification task. In this task, they were presented with a series of emoji, each representing one of six facial emotional expressions, across four commonly used platforms (Apple, Android, WeChat, and Windows). Their task was to choose from one of six labels (happy, sad, angry, surprised, fearful, disgusted) which emotion was represented by each emoji. Results showed that all factors (age, gender, and culture) had a significant impact on how emojis were classified by participants. This has important implications when considering emoji use, for example, conversation with partners from different cultures.


Chen, Y., Yang, X., Howman, H., & Filik, R. (2024). Individual differences in emoji comprehension: Gender, age, and culture. PLoS ONE, 19(2), Article e0297379.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Dec 29, 2023
Online Publication Date Feb 14, 2024
Publication Date 2024
Deposit Date Feb 15, 2024
Publicly Available Date Feb 15, 2024
Journal PLoS ONE
Electronic ISSN 1932-6203
Publisher Public Library of Science
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 19
Issue 2
Article Number e0297379
Keywords Emotions; Face recognition; Facial expressions; Face; Elderly; Social communication; Young adults; Communications
Public URL
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