Study Reveals Surprising Facts About Our Choice Of Emojis

By on

CCSS NCSS-1 Word Search
Photo Credit:

Though they have been around since the late 1990’s, emoji use has escalated sharply with the proliferation of smartphones. A survey conducted by digital start-up Swyft Media revealed that over six billion emoticons or stickers are sent around the world every day. The digital icons have become so ubiquitous that in 2015, the Oxford Dictionary selected the “Face with Tears of Joy” as its “word” of the year. Given their widespread use and popularity, it is not surprising that the tiny images are starting to intrigue researchers as well.

Recently, a team from the University of Michigan and Peking University analyzed 427 million messages sent by users in 212 countries to investigate the differences in emoji use by location and culture. The findings, published in the Journal Ubicomp, revealed that the French are emoji power users and included them in 19.7% of their texts. Though this may not seem like much, it is almost twice that of the second-place winner, Russia, where only 10.9% of the messages contained emojis. Americans came in a close third at 9.2%.

Photo Credit: University of Michigan

Also, though the 😂 handily wins the title as the most popular emoji, the romantic French appear to prefer the ❤️. They are also more likely to use variations of the heart emoji, while the rest of the world prefers emojis depicting faces.

Not surprisingly, the study found that women tend to use emojis more extensively in their texts than men. However, they stick to a handful of favorites. Men, on the other hand, are more discerning and appear to go the extra length to find an emoji that matches the situation. But even so, like 90% of the world, they select from the top 119 of the 1,281 emojis available.

Most commonly used emojis (Image credit: University of Michigan)

Though these findings were interesting, most intriguing was the conclusion that the emoji selection is influenced by societal environment. The researchers say that people living in countries like Australia and France with high levels of individualism – the belief that one person’s need is greater than that of a society or group – used happier emojis. Conversely, those from countries with closer-knit societies, like Colombia, were prone to using sad or angry emojis.

Also, cultures like Turkey and Russia, known for their self-discipline and restraint, appeared to be more content, at least according to the emojis. On the other hand, residents in high-indulgent cultures, like Mexico, seemed unhappy or dissatisfied.

Image Credit: University of Michigan

The researchers believe that the findings of this “first large-scale analysis of emoji usage” will help develop input methods to create custom “next to use” suggestions and perhaps even expand our emoji vocabulary! Who knew that the tiny image we add to brighten up our texts could reveal so much about our culture?


Generate citations in MLA, APA & Chicago formats for this article.

VocabularyPlay Game


Reading Comprehension (8 questions)

  1. How long have emojis been around?
  2. How many emojis are sent out every day?

Critical Thinking Challenge

What emoji do you use most frequently? Why does it appeal to you so...


Vocabulary in Context

Conversely, those from countries with closer-knit societies like Colombia were prone to using sad or angry emojis.

In the above sentence, the word prone most likely means:


to use your custom avatar.
  • Jokergirl71Tuesday, January 16, 2018 at 11:25 am
    lol I love to use the teeth gritting emoji🤟
    • Savage Tuesday, January 16, 2018 at 6:49 am
      emojis r so awsome!!! i wose them all the time😂😂😅😅
      • cutecat6
        cutecat6Friday, January 12, 2018 at 3:30 pm
        😂😂 Love that emoji!
        • meadowlark12
          meadowlark12Thursday, January 11, 2018 at 2:05 pm
          My best friend is obsessed with emojis
          • cringypotato
            cringypotatoThursday, January 11, 2018 at 6:34 am
            Emojis are literally all my brother texts me XD
            • cutecat6
              cutecat6Wednesday, January 10, 2018 at 5:15 pm
              OMG! The tears of joy emoji I will use a lot when something is funny when I use my moms' phone to text with a relative(and yes. I don't have a phone. I'll get one when I'm 13). Like this comment and follow me(I swill follow you back)if you use the tears of emoji often when you text.
              • skyflower121
                skyflower121Thursday, January 11, 2018 at 5:34 am
                I use the Tears of Joy emoji as well! I agree, my friends also use that emoji a lot. #FollowMeAndCutecat6AndWeWillFollowYou!!
              • WolfDogMonday, January 8, 2018 at 9:23 am
                France has a LOT of heart emojis!
                • dumWednesday, December 20, 2017 at 6:14 pm
                  • tinkerbel101
                    tinkerbel101Wednesday, December 20, 2017 at 8:32 am
                    love emoji
                    • mmmWednesday, December 6, 2017 at 9:51 am
                      Im doing a preintation on this
                      • tinkerbel101
                        tinkerbel101Wednesday, December 20, 2017 at 8:32 am

                      Recent Comments

                      S wrote:

                      Really interesting if I was read...
                      Newly Discovered Largest Prime N...

                      glXYCpck wrote:

                      this is really good for my curre...
                      St. Louis Zoo Welcomes Eight Ado...

                      Coolie Slime wrote:

                      Huge number 👍🏻
                      Newly Discovered Largest Prime N...

                      Meany wrote:

                      That's good the should die
                      California Firefighters Try To C...

                      Our Apps and Plugins