Wednesday, December 16, 2015

You should avoid text messages ended with a full stop

You may utilize text messages for contacting your friends and family. What do you reply to such a message, “Shall we go for a dinner tonight?” You will type “Sure.” Or, “Sure!” There seems to be a great difference. Jumping to the conclusion, you should avoid using a full stop (".") for a short reply, according to a new study.

Eurekalert: Study: Text messages that end in a period seen as less sincere

The Washington Post: Study confirms that ending your texts with a period is terrible

The Guardian: Science has spoken: ending a text with a full stop makes you a monster

This experiment was conducted by the researchers at Binghamton University. Participants were requested to read some pairs of messages, to assess the sincerity of the responder of the messages. The massages included text messages with and without a period. Handwritten notes were also examined in the same way. As a result, participants perceived the replies ended with a period as less sincere. In contrast, no difference was observed in the sense of evaluators for handwritten texts.

ScienceDirect: Texting insincerely: The role of the period in text messaging

What made a difference of the perception is unclear. The authors emphasized the lack of nonverbal information in the text messages. You can express your expectation or excitement with your face, tone of the voice, or gesture. On the contrary, a simple word “Sure.” brings the receiver only the content of your answer. It may give the reader some callous impression.

Handwritten messages, regardless of the period, gave the receiver the same impression as if it was typed without a period. It is understandable that you can imagine the emotion of the writer when the message was written by hand. Handwritten messages are frequently used in a celebrating message such as Christmas or birthday, for contributing to a heartwarming experience. With or without a period does not matter in these contexts.

On the other hand, it is still uncertain why omitting the period is better in digital messages. In this experiment, messages without a period provided the preferable impression to the reader. In my hypothesis, texts without a period look a little incomplete. Such an impression may notify the reader that the sender is human, not a computer.

By the way, Japanese, especially younglings, are very accustomed to sending digital messages. They frequently include “emoji” in their texts, to avoid giving an inorganic impression.

Like that: “Sure! (^^)/”

So cool.

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