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Stranger than Fiction

Older people are left puzzled by emojis

Published:Thursday | February 22, 2024 | 7:19 AMBANG Bizarre

A new study has found how age, gender and culture all influence how people interpret the characters used in electronic messages.

270 British and 253 Chinese adults, aged 18 to 84, were asked to identify 24 symbols from Apple, Windows, Android and WeChat showing six emotions – happy, disgusted, fearful, sad, surprised and angry.

Older individuals were less likely to understand the meanings of the surprised, fearful, sad and angry emojis.

However, the experts say that youngsters shouldn't stop sending them to older relatives as they can help improve understanding of messages.

Yihua Chen, the lead author of the study at the University of Nottingham, said: "Older adults may benefit from the use of emoji to clarify the meaning of more complex and ambiguous messages, such as those intended to be interpreted sarcastically."



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