Non-verbal expressivity in alexithymia: A study on emoji use in text messaging across varying levels of alexithymia

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Journal of Research in Personality


The present study examined whether emoji use would be quantitatively and/or qualitatively altered in alexithymia. 646 individuals (Mean Age = 23.11, SD = 7.03; 424 Female) with varying levels of alexithymia took part in a series of vignettes where they were positioned as senders of hypothetical text messages. Participants were tasked to opt in or out of tagging an emoji onto positive and negative text messages. Emoji use frequency was diminished at the high end of the alexithymic continuum, relative to the middle and low spectrums. However, emoji for positive and negative text messages were used with similar patterns of frequency across alexithymic groups of varying severity, suggesting that emoji use is quantitatively but not qualitatively altered in alexithymia.

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