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Tuesday, April 23
The Indiana Daily Student

administration academics & research

Kinsey Institute research suggests emoji users have more success on dating apps


A recent study published by the Kinsey Institute at IU discovered that single people who use emojis in communication with potential partners have more success maintaining romantic and sexual connections than those who don’t.

Published in August, the research demonstrates evidence that emoji users have more romantic opportunities and are able to establish intimate connections more successfully. 

“Specifically for emojis, we were particularly interested in them as a way to signal affect or emotion in an effort to better connect with someone in the context of online dating,” said Amanda Gesselman, lead author of the study. 

The research consisted of two separate studies surveying single adults and how often they used emojis in messages to potential partners. The first study looked at the frequency of first dates and sexual activity and found that nearly 30% of the sample size used emojis with possible online dating matches. More importantly, emoji use was associated with more first dates and more frequent sexual activity over the last year. 

Researchers included Gesselman, Kinsey Institute associate director for research; Justin Garcia, Kinsey Institute acting director, and Vivian Ta, assistant professor of Psychology at Lake Forest College. All three focus a majority of their research on incorporating technology into intimate lives.

“The fact that we could replicate the general gist of our results is something that I find very compelling,” Ta said. “It shows that we’re actually finding some sort of relationship between the two.”

In addition to replicating the study a second time, researchers also counted the number of dates after the first and evaluated the type of physical contact. Participants who used emojis before the first date had more intimate relationships beyond the initial interaction and were more likely to engage in sexual behaviors with that person.

The use of emojis allow daters to communicate important information to potential partners which would be challenging to convey over text otherwise, according to the research. 

“Online and text messaging aren’t going anywhere anytime soon,” Gesselman said. “I think that it’s really important to understand how people are adapting these things to fit goals that we’ve always had. It’s really interesting to see how people use technology to achieve goals that are a part of communication or relationship initiation.”

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