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      Expressing Emotions as Emoticons for Online Intelligent Agents


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      Proceedings of the 30th International BCS Human Computer Interaction Conference (HCI)


      11 - 15 July 2016

      emotions, emoticons, affective computing, user-centered design, virtual agents, online communication



            Without emotional annotation, online communication can be ambiguous and lead to misunderstandings. This paper addresses the questions of which emotions are commonly expressed online, how these emotions can be encapsulated in emoticons, and how people respond to different emotions. In 10 focus groups with university students we found that some emotions are not frequently expressed online (e.g. aggravation, alienantion and torment), while many others were commonly used (e.g. enthusiasm, anger, amusement, amazement and disgust). Emoticons were drawn or described for nine commonly expressed emotions, and the response discussed. Audience was a key component in how people used emoticons, both for use and interpretation. Participants preferred to ‘defuse’ negative emotions such as anger and rage with light-hearted comments, supporting previous findings on a positivity bias on many social networks. These findings have implications for online communication and the design of intelligent virtual agents.


            Author and article information

            July 2016
            July 2016
            : 1-9
            [0001]Computing Science

            University of Aberdeen

            © A. Smith et al. Published by BCS Learning and Development Ltd. Proceedings of British HCI 2016 Conference Fusion, Bournemouth, UK

            This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 Unported License. To view a copy of this license, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/

            Proceedings of the 30th International BCS Human Computer Interaction Conference
            Bournemouth University, Poole, UK
            11 - 15 July 2016
            Electronic Workshops in Computing (eWiC)
            Product Information: 1477-9358BCS Learning & Development
            Self URI (journal page): https://ewic.bcs.org/
            Electronic Workshops in Computing


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