Emoticons

From How Emotions Are Made
Jump to: navigation, search

Introduction endnote 3, from How Emotions are Made: The Secret Life of the Brain by Lisa Feldman Barrett.
Some context is:

Facebook even commissioned a set of emoticons inspired by Darwin’s writings.

Pixar illustrator Matt Jones, in conjunction with U.C. Berkeley professor Dacher Keltner, designed a set of Facebook emoticons inspired by the photographs in Charles Darwin's book The Expression of the Emotions in Man and Animals.[1][2] You can freely download these emoticons as the "Finch Sticker Set." The emoticons are presumed to universally symbolize certain facial expressions of emotion — which are themselves presumed to be universally recognized.

In my lab, we demonstrated that U.S. subjects could easily identify each emoticon as depicting the intended emotion, but only when we gave them a set of emotion words to choose from. They were able to spontaneously label the smiling emoticon as "happy" and the wide-eyed emoticon as "surprise," but all other emoticons were not labeled correctly when compared to chance (244 participants in Study 1; 125 participants in Study 2).


Notes on the Notes

  1. Sharrock, Justine. 2013. “How Facebook, A Pixar Artist, And Charles Darwin Are Reinventing The Emoticon.” Buzzfeed, February 8.
  2. Zolli, Andrew. 2015. Darwin's Stickers, Radiolab, February 9.