Emoticon Use and Happiness

Researchers have mapped the use of Facebook’s new emoticons. The love emoticon is the most popular one – and it’s used most often by Russians.

The smiley face is one of the most recognizable symbols of happiness around the world. Most of us have added a smiley face (or other emoticon) to emails, or those of us who are old school may have drawn one on a card or note.

Emoticons have become a universal way to express our feelings when sending an email, text, or tweet, although their styles vary around the world. Facebook recently partnered with the UC Berkeley Greater Good Science Center and Matt Jones, an illustrator from Pixar, to create a new set of 16 emoticons that express emotions ranging from love to anger.

They’re nicknamed “finches” because the expressions they convey are based on Charles Darwin’s 1872 book The Expression of the Emotions in Man and Animals.

Heating up in Russia

The Greater Good researchers teamed up with researchers from Cambridge to map the use of these finches and found that Russians used the love emoticon more frequently than any other country. So where does that leave Canada? Are we a bunch of cold fish?

Chilling out in Canada

Not according to the researchers. They found that Canadians use a more balanced proportion of emoticons—and that translates to greater overall happiness. Expressing only positive emotions doesn’t necessarily make us happy; it’s expressing a diversity of emotion that equates to more happiness.

A lot of love finches are bound to wing their way across the globe to those we love today. Have a Happy Valentine’s Day—and remember to keep everything in balance—even your emoticons! 🙂  😮  🙁

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