Exploring the (lack of) facilitative effect of emoji for word processing

Linda K. Kaye, José Francisco Rocabado, Sara Rodriguez-Cuadrado, Bethany R. Jones, Stephanie A. Malone, Helen J. Wall, Jon Andoni Duñabeitia

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

6 Citations (Scopus)
10 Downloads (Pure)


We explore whether emoji were associatively linked to emotion concepts represented in emotion-laden words, in line with the Associative-Propositional Evaluation model. Specifically, we tested these principles by exploring whether emotionally-congruent emoji could enhance word processing (Study 1 & 2) and recall (Study 3). In Study 1, participants completed a lexical decision task where word valence was manipulated. Emoji were appended to words which were either congruent, incongruent, or controls. No effects were found for emoji valence on response accuracy or latency. Study 2 presented words which varied in valence alongside congruent or control emoji where self-report valence evaluations were obtained. No effects were observed for emoji valence on word valence evaluations. Study 3 included emoji as primes to test the effect on word recall. No effects were found on word recall accuracy. Overall, the current findings suggest that emoji do not support word processing and may not be associatively linked to emotion concepts.
Original languageEnglish
Article number107563
JournalComputers in Human Behavior
Early online date16 Nov 2022
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2023


  • Emoji
  • Emotional valence
  • Lexical decision
  • Associative linking
  • Associative-propositional evaluation model


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