Scientists might have unlocked the secret to finding love on social media or dating apps like Tinder and Bumble: emoji.
A pair of studies, conducted by a team from The Kinsey Institute, found that people who use more emojis in online communications go on more first dates and have more sex.
Emoji As The New Language Of Love
In the first study, the researchers sought to evaluate emoji use by surveying more than 5,000 people aged 18 to 94 years old from the United States. Most of the participants identified as straight (86.8 percent) and white (62.2 percent). The rest were gay or lesbian (10 percent), bisexual (3.5 percent), African American (19 percent), Hispanic/Latino (15 percent), Asian (6 percent), and Native American (2 percent).
The participants were also asked whether they use emoji and why, and they disclosed information about their dating lives, including how often they have sex.
The study revealed that out of the 5,000 people surveyed, 38 percent do not use emoji while 29 percent do but rarely. Only 28 percent admitted that they use emoji in digital conversations.
The researchers also found that, among emoji users, 3 percent add at least one in every text while 2.5 percent use more than one to each of their messages.
A second study delved further into how emoji use in online communication affects relationships. They surveyed 275 adults from ages 18 to 71. Again, most of them were heterosexual (84 percent) and white (73 percent). Others identified as bisexual (13.5 percent), gay/lesbian (3 percent), African American (13.5 percent), Hispanic/Latino (9 percent), Asian (8 percent), Native American (1.5 percent), and Arab, Middle Eastern, or Indian (0.4 percent).
The findings, published in the medical journal PLOS ONE on Thursday, Aug. 15, revealed that those who use emoji in online communication were more likely to score a second date. Those who use emoji in texts frequently went on more first dates and have recurrent sexual activity.
According to the participants, they use emoji to give their online messages more personality. They also said that using the little icons make expressing their feelings a lot easier.
"[W]e find that the use of emojis allows daters to communicate important affective information to potential partners which facilitates successful intimate connection and more romantic and sexual opportunities," the researchers wrote. "[T]his suggests that those who use emojis more often in this context are more successful at establishing connection and thus enjoy more opportunities for romantic and sexual engagement."
Limitations Of The Study
The researchers, however, noted that the study has a number of limitations. For one, they did not look into which emojis were actually used by the participants, nor did they examine the content of the text messages.