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Valence, arousal and sentiment meanings of 33 facial emoji: Insights for the use of emoji in consumer research

Jaeger, Sara R., Roigard, Christina M., Jin, David, Vidal, Leticia, Ares, Gastón
Food research international 2018
Internet, adults, consumer attitudes, consumer information, emotions, information sources, surveys, United States
Emoji are increasingly used for emotional expression in computer-mediated communications and represent a relevant source of information for consumer companies about consumer’s food-related attitudes and behaviours. However, given that emoji convey a wide range of meanings an in-depth understanding of how consumers interpret them is necessary to enable their use in food-related consumer research. The purpose of this research was to explore consumers' interpretations of facial emoji. In an online survey with 1084 adults from the USA, an open-ended question was used to uncover meanings associated to 33 common facial emoji (in Apple platform rendition iOS 6.0). Participants also evaluated the emotional valence and arousal of the emoji using Self-Assessment Manikins (SAM). The latter confirmed that facial emoji can span broad ranges of emotional valence and arousal and convey a corresponding range of different emotions. Although emoji conveyed their unique and intended meaning, semantic meanings were multiple and bestowed by associations of varying strength depending on the specific emoji being considered. This emphasised that emoji interpretation and use can be flexible, as also seen in internet resources dedicated to emoji meaning. Implications for food-related consumer research are discussed.