Thursday 23 November 2017

Scientists confirm: Ending your text messages with a full stop is heartless

Mass surveilance: Social media
Mass surveilance: Social media

Madhu Murgia

Everyone knows that ending text messages with a full stop is unnecessarily harsh. And research now confirms it.

Psychologists at the University of Binghamton have found that texts that end with full stops were perceived to be insincere or fake by the 126 undergraduates they tested, probably because their modern usage is restricted to conveying annoyance.

The study began as an empirical investigation of a story published in New Republic in 2013. Journalist Ben Crair wrote, "I've noticed it in my text messages and online chats, where people use the period not simply to conclude a sentence, but to announce ‘I am not happy about the sentence I just concluded.'

‘No.’ shuts down the conversation; ‘No … ’ allows it to continue."

The researchers concluded that Crair was probably right - the full stop makes you come across as passive aggressively insincere.

According to the Washington Post, follow-up research by the same team found that exclamation marks - which used to be considered passé - are actually more friendly and sincere than no punctuation at all.

Here's some other texting do's and dont's, and what they reveal about us, according to scientific research.

A study by TalkTalk Mobile found that the number of kisses or x's in a text message is a minefield of misunderstanding. Sending fewer or no x's compared to your texting partner was considered a brush-off. Too many x's can come off as desperate. You should match x for x.

Linguistic scholar Tylor Schnoebelen, who wrote his Stanford PhD thesis on emoji use, claims that only older people use a nose in their smiley faces, like this - :-)

Apparently, people who use a nose also tend to use fewer abbreviations, like "lol."

He also says that the rules dictate emoji are used between, or at the end of sentences, almost like punctuation. Never :O mid-thought.

Researchers at the University of Glasgow found that a very swift response for emails indicates that the sender is stressed or has low self-esteem. You could apply these findings to text messaging too - respond at your own convenience, and don't feel an instant response is warranted.

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