Texting is frequently used in business and day-to-day communication. Without typical speech cues such as tone of voice and facial expressions, it is more difficult to express and comprehend emotion through texting than through face-to-face communication. Previous studies have shown that negative emotion can be conveyed by punctuation marks, such as a period after a one-word reply (e.g., Okay.). In this study, we explored the format of text messages, specifically whether dividing a complete sentence into separate words in multiple texts might convey social and pragmatic information. It is hypothesized that sending a text message one word at a time conveys more intense emotion than sending the same message in a single text. The participants were asked to read text exchanges on a display that resembled mobile phone screens. Half of the critical lines were presented in a single text while the other half were presented across multiple texts, with one word per text. After reading, participants rated the intensity of emotions (frustrated, angry, disgusted) conveyed by different texting formats. The experiment is still in the stage of collecting data.
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Zhang, Zhiqian; Dunne, Christoper; Cook, Andrew; Poirier, Rachel; and Houhghton, Kenneth, "Was it Something That I Said?: Conveying Emotion In Texting" (2021). Research Days Posters 2021. 113.