Ambiguity of emojis: Will incongruent emojis promote negative inference of messages

Wing Hang TO

Research output: ThesisMaster's Theses


Objectives: The present study aims to investigate whether the incongruent emojis will promote negative inference of messages. The following examines (1) how the mood will be inferred if people received the incongruent emojis in messages; (2) how messages will be interpreted if people receive messages with incongruent emojis; (3) what are the impacts if people use neutral and incongruent emojis in messages. The study assumed that the interaction effect between texts and emojis will jointly determine the valences of messages. It was hypothesized that the emojis will not direct the perception of messages, but the interaction of emojis and texts will jointly determine it. Method: An experiment was conducted to collect the data of the process in decision making by recording participants' response times (RTs) and their perceived mood from the received messages (either positive or negative mood). In each trial, the participants judged and indicated their choice in various conditions of messages (the congruent and incongruent valence of emojis and texts) by pressing the corresponding keyboard buttons. Result: Repeated measure ANOVA revealed a significant main effect of emojis and an interaction effect of variables. The incongruence between emojis and texts promoted stronger negative inference. Conclusion: we should pay extra attention to associate every word and emoji so that we can convey ideas more effectively and avoid any misunderstanding. All rights reserved.
Original languageEnglish
QualificationMaster of Social Sciences
Awarding Institution
  • The Education University of Hong Kong
  • TSO, Ricky Van Yip, Supervisor
Publication statusPublished - 2019


  • Emojis
  • Congruency
  • Valences of emojis
  • Theses and Dissertations
  • Thesis (M.Soc.Sc(Psy))--The Education University of Hong Kong, 2019.


Dive into the research topics of 'Ambiguity of emojis: Will incongruent emojis promote negative inference of messages'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.