Text Messages Are Changing The Way We Communicate

Brilliance | Dec. 08, 2017

If you've ever stressed over the meaning of a friend's curt reply over text message, this will come as no surprise: a study found that most people interpret text messages ending in periods as less sincere.

Full Stop

For a study published in Computers in Human Behavior in 2016, researchers asked participants to read a series of short message exchanges. Some of the messages were in text-message form and others were hand written; likewise, some of the response messages ended in a period and some didn't. When the messages appeared as texts, participants rated the responses ending in a period as less sincere than those without periods. Interestingly, they didn't have this interpretation with hand-written messages.

This tendency toward inferring emotion in text is an important thing to remember when you consider that a 2005 study showed that recipients of emails could only correctly identify sarcasm or seriousness about half the time — no better than chance. 

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