Are emoji valid indicators of in-the-moment mood?

Linda K. Kaye, Christina R. Schweiger

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (journal)peer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)
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Despite widespread assumptions that emoji represent emotions, research findings show that we do not process emoji in a way which we would expect for emotional stimuli. As such, we might be better placed to consider them more in line with mood states rather than emotion concepts. This formed the basis for the current study in which we collected in-the-moment mood assessments (N = 682) using an Emoji mood scale (Emoji PANAS) to establish whether emoji might be a valid way to measure current mood. This emoji scale replicated items from standardised psychometric mood scales (PANAS; Watson et al., 1988), but asked participants to report the degree to which emoji rather than words represented their current affective state. We also took measures of the Big-5-personality traits (Goldberg et al., 2006). When exploring relationships between reports of in-vivo mood based on items from the PANAS with the respective emoji on our Emoji PANAS scale, these corresponded significantly for all mood states. This suggests that mood is reported in an equivalent way irrespective of whether this is responding to word items or the respective emoji items to represent these affective states. However, when exploring these relationships for sub-samples based on participant dominant personality trait, we found some differential patterns. Namely, for those high in emotional stability and extraversion, there were few significant correlations between the items from two mood scales, indicating that emoji may not always be a useful or reliable means for reporting in-the-moment mood when disaggregating by certain personality traits which consist strong dimensions of emotionality.

Original languageUndefined/Unknown
Article number107916
Pages (from-to)1-10
JournalComputers in Human Behavior
Early online date15 Aug 2023
Publication statusPublished - 18 Aug 2023


  • Mood
  • Emoji PANAS
  • Personality
  • Affect
  • Emotion

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