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As text communication becomes more prominent in our lives and the number of relationships started online increase, scientists say there is a correlation between using emoji and having a successful romantic and sex life.
The study, performed by scientists from the Kinsey Institute for Research in Sex, surveyed over 5,000 participants aged 18 to 94 to determine current attitudes on emoji usage, and what effect using more emoji has on relationships.
Mashable reports that the survey found that nearly 30% of the study participants frequently used emoji when talking to potential romantic partners through “computer-mediated communication,” or as the researchers shortened it, CMC. The responders who said they used emoji frequently told the researchers from the Kinsey Institute that they do so because it helps with their self-expression, shows their personality, and because it’s faster than writing out a full message. The researchers noted that “the use of emojis allows daters to communicate important affective information to potential partners.” In layman’s terms, affective expression is the observable expressions of emotion like facial expressions, vocal pitch, hand gestures, and body language.
Using emoji to convey those physical markers of emotion appears to improve communication and romantic outcomes, according to the research. While there was no clear correlation between emoji use and the number of first dates a person went on, more frequent emoji usage was linked to an increased number of second dates. People who used emoji often when talking to romantic interests were also more likely to kiss their dates, have sex, and enter into long-term relationships.
Of course, correlation doesn’t equal causation, and more research needs to be done. While the survey may shed light on patterns of communication, a larger study with a more varied sample group could establish a clearer relationship between emoji use and romantic success. Of the over 5,000 participants, 86.8% identified as straight, and 62.2% identified as white. For now, at least the evidence seems to support that throwing an extra kissy-face at the end of your texts is a good idea.
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Alex Dalbey is a writer and zinester currently living in Saint Paul, Minnesota. They have written for The Daily Dot, Kill Screen, The Lingerie Addict, and Bullet Points.