via in.bgu.ac.il/en/ Article
‘Smiley’ Emojis in Formal Workplace E-Mails could Create Frowns, says BGU Study
“A smiley face emoji and similar emoticons included in work-related e-mails may not create a positive impression and could even undermine information sharing, according to a new study by researchers at BGU.
‘Our findings provide first-time evidence that, contrary to actual smiles, smileys do not increase perceptions of warmth and actually decrease perceptions of competence,’ explained Dr. Ella Glikson, a post-doctorate fellow at BGU’s Department of Management in the Guilford Glazer Faculty of Business and Management. ‘In formal business e-mails, a smiley is not a smile.’
According to a new paper, published in the journal Social Psychological and Personality Science, researchers from BGU, University of Haifa and Amsterdam University conducted a series of experiments with a total of 549 participants from 29 different countries.
… The results demonstrated that in contrast to face-to-face smiles, which increase both competence and warmth, the smileys in an e-mail had no effect on the perception of warmth, and in fact had a negative effect on the perception of competence.
‘The study also found that when the participants were asked to respond to e-mails on formal matters, their answers were more detailed and they included more content-related information when the e-mail did not include a smiley,’ says Dr. Glikson. …
‘People tend to assume that a smiley is a virtual smile, but the findings of this study show that in the case of the workplace, at least as far as initial ‘encounters’ are concerned, this is incorrect,’ Dr. Glikson says. ‘For now, at least, a smiley can only replace a smile when you already know the other person. In initial interactions, it is better to avoid using smileys, regardless of age or gender.'”