Emoticons in IM Conversations. Past Research: IM supplies a flexible medium for a wide range of conversations (Nardi et al., 2000). According to the social presence theory, a greater number of cues result in higher levels of personal connection (Walther, Slovacek, & Tidwell, 2001).
There was a main effect of emoticons. When emoticons were present participants rated IM conversations as more sarcastic than when emoticons were not present.
W/emoticons: M=3.933, SD=0.082
W/o emoticons: M=3.179, SD=0.082
Gender of Conversation
Mean Rating of Sarcasm
Error Bars show 95.0% Cl of Mean
Bars show Means
Character Screen NameResults
Our results are consistent with previous research regarding online communication. This research (Nardi et al., 2000) suggested that emoticons would have an effect on participants’ ability to interpret sarcasm in an IM conversation.
Past research also suggested that gender would influence interpretation of sarcasm (Witmer & Katzman, 1997; Riva,2001). However, our results did not support this research.