Mind Blowing Research

Sometimes I wonder about the average intelligence of our society:

One finding that really surprised us is that a good deal of the potential for miscommunication may come from different interpretations of the exact same emoji rendering.

They were “really surprised” that a system of communication based on subjectively interpreted symbols was confusing?

Cripes. That shouldn’t have been surprising to anybody. Especially not to aspiring Ph.D.s.

I’m fascinated by languages. When I was in high school I studied German, in college I studied Japanese. Last year I learned Esperanto and this year I’m studying Latin. What fascinates me about languages is that they all accomplish the same basic thing, communicating ideas between individuals, but with vastly different rulesets. German uses pronouns where Latin uses conjugations. Esperanto uses a Latin alphabet where Japanese uses a writing system adapted from the Chinese writing system. Since the rules are well defined (even though they don’t necessarily have to be strictly abided by) anybody who understand a set of rules can communicate with anybody else that understands those same rules.

There are no well defined rules surrounding the usage of emojis. Each symbol doesn’t have a specific well known meaning like the symbols used in English or Chinese do. So it should be obvious that using emojis to communicate is going to be more confusing than using languages with well defined rules. Apparently it’s not obvious and resources had to be invested into researching whether the use of emojis is confusing or not. To make matters worse the researchers were “really surprised” that their research showed that using emojis is confusing.

One thought on “Mind Blowing Research”

  1. Communication is difficult, and misunderstandings are always possible, even using well established languages with large vocabularies. English, for example. A string of emojis? In a room with ten people, I’d be surprised if any two gave the same interpretation.

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