Do people of different cultures agree on the meaning and use of emoticons? This study addresses this question from an inter-cultural perspective and explores the use of emoticons in the American and Chinese Computer-mediated communication (CMC) communities. The research indicates that both the Americans and Chinese participants use emoticons for entertaining, informational and social interaction motivations but the Americans are more likely to use emoticons for information motivations than the Chinese and the Chinese participants are more likely to use emoticons for social interactions than the Americans participants. The results correspond to the cultural differences between the two countries in low-/ high-context and individualism/collectivism dimensions. Moreover, the results also show that the Americans and the Chinese disagree on the meaning of most emoticons used in the study.
Library of Congress Subject Headings
Emoticons--Research; Emoticons--United States; Emoticons--China; Telematics; Human information processing; Paralinguistics; Visual communication
Department, Program, or Center
Department of Communication (CLA)
Wang, Yujiao, "Perception of meaning and usage motivations of emoticons among Americans and Chinese users" (2004). Thesis. Rochester Institute of Technology. Accessed from
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